Marjata in Kirkenes, Norway in 2011.
|Owner:||Norwegian Defence Research Establishment|
|Operator:||Norwegian Intelligence Service|
|Builder:||Langsten shipyard, Aker Yards, Tomrefjord, Norway|
|Launched:||18 December 1992|
|Status:||In active service|
|Type:||Military intelligence ship (ELINT)|
|Displacement:||7,560 tons (full load)|
|Length:||81.5 m (267 ft 5 in)|
|Beam:||40 m (131 ft 3 in)|
|Draught:||6 m (19 ft 8 in)|
|Propulsion:||2 × diesel engines and 2 × gas turbines|
|Speed:||15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)|
FS Marjata is a purpose-built electronic intelligence collection vessel (ELINT). She is the third ship that bears the name Marjata, all of which has been used for military intelligence purposes by the Norwegian Armed Forces. She is owned by the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, but operated by the Norwegian Intelligence Service, and is considered to be one of the most advanced ships of her kind in the world. Her main role is surveillance of the Russian Northern fleet`s activity in the Barents Sea, but is constructed for operations all over the world. She operates in international waters close to the Russian border. Marjata officially serves as a research ship for the Norwegian Intelligence Service.
The first (1966-75) and second (1976-95) ships entered service earlier during the Cold War.
It is a ramform type ship-design with an unusual hull shape. The shape of the hull is characteristic with a sharp bow, sinusoidal waterline, a descending rear body that ends in a straight cut-off stern where the ship has the largest width. Because of the very large width of the ship it will have an operational metacentric height of about 16 meters. The ship can continue to operate even with large parts of the interior under the waterline, when the ship's exact trimming is uncritical. The same goes for cargo shift, if the ship is exposed to icing or large amounts of water on deck. This makes Marjata a very stable sensor platform, she is also built with a very low noise signature, so that the ship itself does not interfere with the onboard sensors. Marjata also has large internal bay for computing and analyzing of reconnaissance data. The ramform type ships are often used for seismological surveys of the seabed. Marjata is well suited for operation in arctic conditions for prolonged periods of time.
Marjata (iii) is due to be replaced by a new and larger ship in 2016. The new ship, which will be the fourth Marjata, is currently being fitted out at the Vard Langsten shipyard in Norway, after having its post-building transit through the Bosphorous reported by news services, including Stars and Stripes.
Marjata and the Kursk tragedy
The various ships that have borne the name Marjata has always been looked upon with disapproval by the Russian and former Soviet, authorities. During and after the raising of the sunken Russian submarine K-141 Kursk, Norwegian authorities were criticized by the Russian side because the ship had been too aggressive and would have disrupted the work. The ship was also in the area when the accident occurred. It was located 19 kilometers away when it was registered an explosion that was interpreted as a "soft explosion". A little while later an earthquake measuring device picked up a second explosion which is thought to have occurred when Kursk hit the seabed and 5-7 torpedo warheads detonated. This secondary event was estimated to be equal to two tons of TNT. After the incident it emerged claims that the Marjata had not observed any abnormalities, but this claim has several military sources doubted the correctness of. During the salvage of the Kursk, there was also considerable disagreement about Marjata's position and actions.
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