View Full Version : Sell Eithne?

Goldie fish
3rd November 2003, 04:18
While passing the "sold" sign outside Murphy barracks the other night,and thinking of the potential purchases the DoD can make from its sale I got to thinking about other things that could be sold to generate much needed revenue for military spending in this country,and my mind went straight to one item..
P31 Eithne. Next month she will be 20 years in the water and there is still plenty of life in her. Would one of our poorer EU member states,or perhaps some south american dictatorshp be willing to take her off our hands?
Her main feature ,the helideck has never been taken full advantage of in this country,and is probably never going to be used in the forseeable future,If we sold her while she is still in good condition we could get the price of another P50 type as replacement. The longer we wait,the closer she will be to scrap value. If we replace her now,we would be one step closer to standardising the weapon fit of all the remaining vessels, as the Eithnes armament was an oddity to the naval service.
She is over equipped for our uses,with Signaal DA05mk4 air search radar,2x Racal Decca1629c surface search radar,Plessey PMS26 Hull Mounted sonar,Helideck,hangar and aircraft handling equipment,and firefighting equipment that would not look out of place on an Oil Rig support ship. In addition to her modern Navigation bridge,she is also fitted with a relatively modern combat control room.
Her 2 engines are located in 2 engine rooms seperated by watertight bulkheads,2 Kamewa Variable pitch propellors and in adition to Bilge Keels she is also fitted with retractable fin stabilisers.
She was designed and built In Verolme Cork Dockyard by a team of naval engineers as a Naval vessel,and has much of the damage control features normally only found on Naval vessels,unlike the rest of the fleet.
Any takers?

3rd November 2003, 06:14

Goldie fish
3rd November 2003, 06:19
I think its fair to say that LE Niamh is now the pride of the Irish NS,having featured so prominently in the media during her trip to China.
Eithne in recent years has been in the news for all the wrong reasons.

3rd November 2003, 20:32
I'll give ya $5 for her.

Vice Admiral
3rd November 2003, 23:49
The Eithne can bunk 90 pers all told without putting anyone in the hangar and she operates with a crew of roughly 40, she's the closest thing to troop transport we have.

As regards flight ops, a helicopter will never land on Eithne again (Barring emergencys) until the NS have their own air wing, those aer corps boys like to get home for their tea and don't like being on nasty ships where you cant play golf after work.

5th November 2003, 13:55
Naval Air Wing? I don't see that happening. I mean, why would we want a chopper on the boats anyway? I can think of only one job that cannot be done just as well by shore-based choppers, and I don't think the ARW will ever want to chopper onto an "enemy" shore in the foreseeable future.

6th November 2003, 12:14
But surely a Chopper could expand Naval Ops by the Air ? Dont the Gardai have great use in the Chopper to track vehicles etc cant a heli do that over water chasing boats etc.

"Why would we want a chopper on the Boats anyway?"

Some Reasons...

1. Long Range SAR
2. Quick interception
3. Expanded Search Area
4. Quicker Searches of Ocean for vessels (IE the chopper will get to a vessel WAY before a ship does)
5. Because it's the closest thing we have to a Frigate!! he he

Goldie fish
6th November 2003, 16:03
Yes you are right fox. Your reasons are exactly why Eithne was built. But whats the point in having it when you have no aircraft to fly from it? Not only are there no aircraft available,but there are no pilots willing, or trained to fly from it,and there are no plans to change this in the future. The Garda helis also have a much more useful equipment fit than any Naval Heli that worked from eithne,as none of the Dauphins were fitted with either FLIR or Nightsun. However the Garda helis do not have the 270deg Omera search radar fitted to the dauphin either..

As for the frigate jibe....During the Eithnes first visit to NY many years ago,the normal maintence routine as being carried out,painting etc,and during this time some deckie "accidentally" painted over a portion of her pennant number so that in many photos Eithne entered New York Harbour with the Pennant number F31..

Goldie fish
7th November 2003, 06:04
I dont know...never crewed a ship with a pennant number myself...The junior officer makes the skipper's tea though...

7th November 2003, 22:14
what happened to the other 30 of the crew.......about 40 my arse....72 is her published complement......Yes Kermit is correct that the junior officer has the privelege of paint the pennant number but as the 'P' was daubed over in mediteranian grey it was hardly an officer....****ers are allergic to grey paint.......many is the young ensign who went over the side to paint the number and ended up swimming back....I recall one young lad wearing the cotents of the galley gash bag on his return....

As for selling the lady....could flog the copyright when she was built....don't fancy trying to flog the real thing.

8th November 2003, 06:55

Goldie fish
8th November 2003, 13:35
Like the Volcano..Etna,only with a th in the middle.

22nd November 2003, 05:41
It is sad to see eithne and think of what could have been. Originally the first in a 3 ship class,with the third being configured as a research vessel,Industrial action,economic downturn and government stalling saw this idea evaporate as a pipe dream. Everything about the design of this ship was Irish. To this day,the constructors model of her prototype bow is being used as a training aid in CIT. But as the years go by successive refits are grinding down her teeth. The landing aids have been removed,to where I dont know. Her Ships boats,which made going ashore while at anchor a far more pleasant experience(tum-tum),have long been removed,along with their unique davits. I do not understand why removal was necessary,surely with certain modification they would have been able to launch a larger version of the sea rider,similar to the type seen on the P50s. I heard the slua muiri use one of her boats,but I cannot confirm this.

To sell this monument to irish Naval architecture,the Last ship built in the Republic would be something which future generations would not forgive us.

Goldie fish
22nd November 2003, 15:25
Eithne is no more than a monument to how difficult irish workers can be when things dont go their way. During the construction,numerous fittings were installed the wrong way around,and had to be re installed at ever increasing expense. Important things such as pumps,filters,seals,water treatment plants...And this was at a dockyard that refused to work overtime or shift,as would be the norm today.

25th November 2003, 15:35
The only boat that was used at anchor for liberty purposes was the liberty boat.....the boarding boat was a throw back to the days of the deirdre....it should never have been fitted as it was rarely used.

The concept was good at the time but the lack of investment in a properly sourced airwing was the deathknell for the heliops .

The ship was definetly innovative in Irish service but it was the DODs cost cutting that rmoved her true potential for her. She was built as a lead of class or a prototype and as with the Deirdre there were some short comings. If the second of class had proceeded no doubt the lessons learned from the Eithne would have translated into a very good design.

The SA365f dauphin 2 was never suitable for the role intended.The role of the heloo aboard the ship was never clearly defined and the dauphin had been purchased as a mulirole aircraft for the aircorps with the requisets of the NS always trailing far behind.

The failure to set up a dedicated airwing for the NS was disasterous as the Army always had first call on the aircraft and the fact that there were only two drastically reduced the ability of the NS and the AC to train together.

failure to train flying personnel and technical peoplr as part of Eithnes crew was also a shortcomming as again loyalty was divide and these people while on board and not flying should have performed watches etc but this was never to be.

A sucess a aconcept but a failure but as a operational unit in her heli flying role she was a failure.

1st February 2004, 12:06
I'm mixed up,which one is the Boarding boat ,and which one is the liberty boat? Earlier Photos of the PVs show 2 fibreglass Lifeboats in the davits,and the P20s had 2 types, and open boat,and a larger boat with 2 cabins. Where are these craft now?
I remember they had a distinctive sound too.....

1st February 2004, 12:24
the boat with the twp cabins is the liberty boat and hung on the starboard side

the open boat on the port side is the boarding boat.........Now originally Deirdre was fitted with a comercial type life boat on the starboard side ...and so carried her other two boat s.....ie liberty and boarding boat on the port side... the Geminis were carried on a pltform over looking the afterdeck.

Confused !...In 1986 deirdres life boat was removed permantly and as this weighed a couple of tons it upset the ships equilibrium and she took on a pronounced list to port which had to be corrected with ballast.........The ships boats remained on the port side......and the lifeboat was replaced with a second gemini.

The life boat was moored for some time behind the old billets and was occassionally used for boat handling during seamanship courses and NCO courses.

The boarding boats on all the naval vessels were removed and replaced with Avon 5.4 metre semi rigids....or Ribs to the common man. Liberty boat was a great detail while ar anchor as they were real nippy. Hated the boarding boat as launching and recovering them was a nightmare and you never knew if the bloody thing would start.