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The Pattern 1199 Lighter Carrier, also known as the Herman-class Gunboat Carrier, is a vessel developed and built for one purpose and one purpose only: Taking aboard smaller, only-brown-water capable vessels and bringing them over the ocean to new environments. These vessels can range from Cargo Lighters like the Pattern 906 Cargo Lighter to gunboats like the Bevington-class Gunboat and even a considerably smaller number of Fast Attack Craft. Additionally, the Pattern 1199 Lighter Carrier can also work as tender and mobile repair workshop for, technically, any sort of vessel, not only riverine gunboats.

Design

The Pattern 1199 Lighter Carrier is a 61,000 tons heavy vessel built to transport lighters and riverine gunboats above blue water, towards their areas of deployment and back, if necessary. With a length of 275 metres, a beam of 31.3 metres and a draught of 10.4 metres at full load, the Pattern 1199 is a larger vessel, falling into the New Panamax Category.

The vessel is powered by two Diesel Generators, which supply up to 58 Megawatts of power for all systems aboard, from the coffeemaker to the engines, by a system known as Integrated Electric Propulsion: Power is generated aboard to supply the ships systems, thus saving weight on engines and costs in maintenance, instead of wasting either with engines, power generators, gearboxes and so on. To further enhance the capacities of the Pattern 1199, the vessel is equipped with two azimuth thrusters and a bow thruster, allowing for much smaller turning circles and docking without the assistance of a tugboat, while also allowing for easier maintenance.

With the usage of the engine's full power, the Pattern 1199 can attain a maximum speed of 27 knots or 50 kilometres per hour. At the more modest cruising speed of 15 knots, or 27.7 kilometres per hour, the vessel has a range of 10,000 nautical miles or 18,520 kilometres.

The vessel is operated by a crew of 95 officers and men, plus can have a maintenance crew of up to 405 officers and men, which are to take care of the lighters or gunboats aboard. In the normal configuration, the vessel can also carry up to 500 passengers, the crews of the lighters.

This crew is housed in sleeping pods, the cheap and efficient accommodations inspired by capsule hotels: Measuring 2.5 by 1.25 by 1.5 metres, these modular and relocatable fibreglass pods mostly consist of a mattress, with a cupboard along the side for personal belongings and a panel as a working surface. Cleaning facilities are communal and lockers for larger belongings, like clothes, are provided.

Despite its clear civilian use, the Pattern 1199 can not only be used as a military vessel, but also armed like one, with provisions for two CIWS mounts, as well as four balconies, all of which are not fitted. In a civilian application, these positions remain empty and give a nice view.

Well Deck

The most obvious particularity of the Pattern 1199 is the Well Deck, which not only allows for the transportation of smaller boats but also for their quick and easy deployment, as well as be taken aboard again. The Well Deck measures 55.9 by 20.6 metres and is twelve metres high. It can be flooded to a depth of three metres, easily capable of allowing for the storage and deployment of twelve Pattern 906 Cargo Lighters or fifteen Bevington-class Gunboats or any other vessel fitting in under full load.

But not only that: An internal crane system allows to lift vessels in the well deck into the cargo hold, where up to twenty four more lighters can be stored (or an equivalent number of Gunboats), and into the maintenance areas, where up to two lighters can be repaired.

A pair of cranes on the deck and two hatches can be used to lift lighters from the cargo hold onto the water or into the workshop or the other way around. However, the Pattern 1199 can not carry further lighters or gunboats on the deck.

History

The Pattern 1199 is the result of a question by an officer of the SDF-Army: “Nice and dandy, that we have new gunboats, but how do we get them to the Archipelago?”

The reply was Stutter-Beep.

With the SDF-Army Sapper Corps taking the Bevington-class Gunboat as their equipment, the SDF also sought vessels to transport them to their place of deployment should they be needed abroad – the Archipelago being only one example. First, an adapted vessel of the Pattern 253 Dry Bulk Carrier of the Auxiliary Freighter Group was used, which was soon realized as being quite ineffective.

So, a specialized vessel needed to be constructed. Combined with the need to transport Lighters, both loaded and unloaded, SDY began to work on a specialized vessel: The Pattern 1199.

Commissioning of the first vessel of the SDF-Navy was delayed by infighting of who would command the vessel, Navy or Army, until Mona Beag of the Tribe of Louth mediated. Her compromise was, that the Captain was of the Navy, while the First Officer was of the Sapper Corps, preferably someone, who would not get seasick.

The commissioning of SDFS Annamh is planned for June 2019.

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