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Finnish Navy’s multi-role corvettes under construction at Rauma shipyard

article picture: Finnish Navy’s multi-role corvettes under construction at Rauma shipyard

This Navy Squadron 2020 project will replace some of Finnish Navy’s current ships with new Pohjanmaa-class multi-role vessels, or corvettes. These multi-role vessels will have an essential role in Finland’s future naval defence. The Finnish shipyard Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) and its subsidiary RMC Defence will build the corvettes. Construction of the first vessel was started in late October of 2023.

At RMC’s shipyard in Rauma on the southwestern coast of Finland, the steel cutting ceremony of the first Squadron 2020 multi-role corvette to be constructed for the Finnish Navy was celebrated on 30th October 2023.

The first corvette has been scheduled for completion in 2026, with two more vessels to follow in 2027 and the fourth in 2028. This major ship project ensuring the Finnish national maritime defence capabilities has been in preparation for several years.

”The first spark for these multipurpose vessels was lit up as early as 2007 when ideas for successors for the Finnish Navy´s legacy vessels were being preliminarily contemplated within the Navy. Later on, further research on operational, tactical, and technological levels was carried out, to find out how new vessels should actually operate and how their capabilities could be utilised in various types of naval operations,” explains Mr. Timo Ståhlhammar, retired Navy Captain and currently Project Director for Squadron 2020 at Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC).

”The Finnish Navy does not order warships upon a spur-of-the-moment inspiration. Procurement of vessels is based on operational needs. In ship designs, possible scenarios for battlefield operations encountered on the current and, above all, on the future battlefields – as well as the required wartime capabilities of new vessels – will be taken into account.”


Finnish Navy’s new Pohjanmaa-class vessels will monitor the Finnish sea area, repel attacks from the sea, protect the vital sea infrastructure of communication and safeguard vital assets at sea and in the archipelago. This will ensure that the Navy will be able to conduct its statutory defence tasks well into the future and control the sea and archipelago areas having significance from the perspective of operations.

The high-performance vessels are designed to operate in the Baltic Sea all year round in various circumstances, ranging from autumn storms to icy and freezing conditions.

”These four vessels are rather exceptional, with their versatile capabilities optimised for this northern operating environment,” Mr. Ståhlhammar notes.

”In September 2019, the contract between Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command and RMC Defence was signed. This started the project for the eventual design and production of four new multipurpose corvettes.”

The multi-role corvettes will have a length of 117 metres, a width of 16 metres and a speed of 26 knots (48 km/h), with accommodation for a crew of 70 persons.

The four new ships will in time replace seven older vessels: the four Rauma-class fast-attack missile craft and two Hämeenmaa-class mine-laying ships, as well as one Pohjanmaa-class minelayer that was already decommissioned in 2013.


According to Mr. Ståhlhammar, the preliminary planning was based on the customer’s concept. The ship designs were then further developed in close cooperation between RMC shipyard and the Finnish Defence Forces.

”Consequently, the final blueprints depict a fully functioning ship model, from all points of view.”

The new Pohjanmaa-class corvettes will be equipped with top-notch monitoring capacities for air, surface and underwater surveillance. They must also be capable of laying mines, defending themselves against hostile surface vessels as well as submarines and various airborne targets, and command maritime operations. Such vessels can be used in crisis management measures and as part of NATO’s Standing Naval Forces.

“The design of the corvettes pays particular attention to shock resistance, noise levels and stealth technology. The multi-role corvettes are the first vessel class in the Finnish Navy designed and constructed under the surveillance of the ship classification society, including the ship’s performance in ice,” Ståhlhammar points out.

”The corvettes have been designed to navigate unaided even in relatively thick ice. This is practical as it enables the vessels to proceed from the Naval Base to open sea without ice-breaker assistance throughout the winter season.”


The Finnish maritime defence has for a long time relied on shipbuilding expertise from Rauma, as most vessels that the Finnish Navy has adopted since 1990 have been built at Rauma. Furthermore, a significant number of vessels owned by the Finnish State, including all multipurpose icebreakers and Finnish Boarder Guard patrol boats, have been built, maintained, and repaired at Rauma shipyard.

”The new multipurpose corvettes are being built in Finland mainly for two reasons. One is to ensure that the domestic defence industries retain the capability to construct such vessels even in the foreseeable future. Also, it is crucial that the vessels can be repaired, maintained, and upgraded in Finland,” Ståhlhammar emphasises.

The corvettes are being constructed in a new multipurpose workshop that has been built specifically for this project. The workshop will provide suitable conditions for the production and will enhance security and quality. RMC’s new steel production process will allow for the welding of even thinner plates. Still, the hull has been specified to withstand a reasonable impact of underwater explosive force. Such shockabsorption propensities are not uncommon in warship designs.

Furthermore, RMC has constructed a reference block to ensure the technical production capacity of the project.

”The reference block enabled inter alia testing and functionality of new facility investments, including one-side plasma welding, modernisation of profile-cutting machine, T-beam line, dimensional control process, plus welding with surface treatment and outfitting installations.”

”The product development of the technically challenging corvettes will continue even after the start of production,” mentions Ståhlhammar.

By: Ari Mononen
Photos: Rauma Marine Constructions

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