KNM Vidar - Norway's last minelayer


TYPE: Minelayer
BUILDING SITE: Mjellem & Karlsen, Bergen
CLASS: Vidar class minelegger
LAUNCHED: 18 March 1977
HOIST COMMAND: 21 October 1977


  • 2x 40mm Bofors cannons
    -Barrel lenght in caliber: L/70

  • 4x 7.62x51mm Machineguns

  • 6x 2x3 32.4cm torpedotubes
    -Torpedo: Mark 37 anti sumbarine torpedo

  • Sea mines
    -Amount: 300-400x depending/optional
    -Mk-6 sinking mines
    -Mk 17 mines


  • 2x 40mm Bofors cannons
    -Barrel lenght in caliber: L/70

  • 4x 7.62x51mm Machineguns

  • Mistral Anti Air missiles
    -Mass: 19.7 kilograms
    -Length: 1.86 m
    -Diameter: 90 mm
    -Crew: 1
    -Effective firing range up to: 6 kilometers/8 kilometers (Mistral 3)
    -Warhead: High Explosive with high density tungsten balls
    -Warhead weight: 2.95 kg
    -Detonation mechanism: Laser proximity or impact triggered
    -Engine: Solid Rocket Motor, 2-stage
    -Maximum speed: 930 m/s, approx. Mach 2.71 (high supersonic)
    -Guidance system: infrared homing

  • Sea mines
    -Amount: 300-400x depending/optional
    -Mk-6 sinking mines
    -Mk 17 mines


Displacement: 1.673 Metric Tons
Lenght: 64.8 Meter
Width: 12.0 Meter
Depth: 4.0 Meter

2x Wichmann 7AX dieseleignes
Power: 4.200 BHP
Speed: 15 Knots (27.78 km/h)

Estimated crew: 50 Men

Hull material: Steel

1977: Launched 18 March 1977
1977: Hoist command 21 October 1977
2003: Converted to minesweeper and command vessel
2006: Command deleted
2006: Transferred to Latvia

The fleet plan gave us many new vessels, but also high operating costs. In the late 1960s, consideration was given to building combination vessels that could fulfill both the role of minelayer and training vessel. When this project ran aground in 1970, you had to make do as best you could with the Gor class for a few more years. At a time when vast resources were being spent on advanced missiles and fire control, there were still some, including Admiral Tore Holthe, who became advocates for a strengthened mine defence. This led to the decision to build two new, clean minelayers. Even if one could plan to requisition more than enough ferries, which could be converted into minesweepers in a fairly simple way, this would require so much time that in terms of preparedness it was not considered satisfactory. While the Gor class could carry 60-90 mines, the new minesweepers should each be able to carry 3-400 mines.

The assignment for construction went to the Bergen-based shipyard Mjellem & Karlsen, which had also submitted the proposal for construction. With its 65 x 12 meters and a displacement of 1,673 tonnes, it was the yard’s largest building until then. The hulls were dimensioned according to requirements from Det norske Veritas. They had stabilization systems in the form of anti-roll tanks, and they became the first vessels with automatic monitoring of engine rooms. The comfort on board was also adapted to the new era. There were no longer banjeres, but the entire 50-man crew got cabins, the privates just enough 4- and 6-man cabins. Although not only men; the new minesweepers were also suitable for female crew members. Trimed Fitness room, sauna and joint mess for all commanders also contributed to increased well-being.

The names Vidar and Vale are traditional vessel names, taken from Norse mythology, derde were sons of Odin. When Odin was killed by the Fenriswolf, it was the taciturn Vidar who avenged his father by killing the Fenriswolf. There are those who have seen the symbolism in that the taciturn Vidar proved to be the strongest, but if nothing else the myth provided inspiration for his own christening rituals of new crews on board. KNM Vidar was fully built by Mjellem & Karlsen and launched on 5 August 1977. For KNM Vale, it was Skaalurens Skipsbyggeri in Rosendal that was commissioned to build the hull and parts of the superstructure, before the vessel was towed to Bergen for final handling and handover on 10 February 1978. It was a good district policy, but also in relation to other equipment and furnishings, emphasis was placed on using Norwegian suppliers as much as possible.

During the Cold War, invasion defense in Northern Norway was the priority task. Vidar and Vale were therefore to have their base in Ramsund. Ramsund Orlogsstasjon had safe storage conditions for significant quantities of mines and torpedoes and good workshop and maintenance facilities. An environment of mine divers was also gradually built up here. With Ramsund and Northern Norway as a starting point, the minelayers should be able to lay out independent minefields at short notice to protect important ports. Mines could also be used to channel an attacking force and its resupply into the inlets where we had stationary defense installations. In addition, the minelaying capacity helped to strengthen NATO’s northern flank, and it could also play a role in securing pre-stored allied material. The mines were mainly American-made of the Mk6 type, with 136 kilograms of TNT. These were laid with tanks at the bottom and a wire up to the mine which had a positive buoyancy. The mine could be laid close to the sea surface with the aim that it would be triggered by direct contact. It was believed that the mine would have an even greater effect if it exploded 10-15 meters below an enemy ship. Although it might not then be sunk, the pressure wave would lift the ship up and render it useless. As anti-aircraft defense, they were armed with two rapid-firing 40 mm Boforskanons. They also had 6 pcs. Mk-37 anti-submarine torpedoes, sonar and sinking mines, so they could also protect against submarines to some extent. After 1990, the torpedoes were taken ashore, but the vessels had Mistral air-target missiles installed in return.



KNM Vidar N52 — ImgBB



90 år under rent norsk orlogsflagg -
Norske marinefartøy - samtlige norske marinefartøy 1814-2008 og marinens flygevåpen 1912-1944 | ARK Bokhandel
Mark 37 torpedo - Wikipedia


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