Thursday, 8 October 2015

FS MONGE and Kosmonaut Vladimir Komarov

With the arrival of the French Navy's missile and satellite tracking ship MONGE (A601) this week, a number of photos have floated around not only of MONGE but also of some other similar Russian visitors to Halifax over the years. I thought I would join in.

From the Wikipedia article, MONGE is named after the French mathematician Gaspard Monge, and is a missile range instrumentation ship. She has been in service since 1992. At 21,000 tonnes, she is 740 feet long. 

It has been a few years, but previous generations of this type of ship were also visitors to Halifax, including the Soviet Union's Kosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and Kosmonaut Vladimir Komarov, both operated by the Academy of Sciences. I don't have photos of the former, but through my grandfather, I have photos of the latter. 

From his house on Johnston Avenue in Dartmouth, overlooking the harbour, my grandfather had a clear view of any and all marine traffic passing by, and he frequently took photos of the various ships. It would probably not be far wrong to surmise that I inherited my interest not only in photography, but in maritime photography, from him. The following three images are scanned from his old slides. 

Kosmonaut Vladimir Komarov. © Sandy Mowat
I don't have precise dates for his photos, but in the case of the photo above, Fenwick Place appears to be in the advanced stages of construction, and a Wikipedia article places its completion in 1971, making this photo circa 1970/71. Also of interest are the CCG icebreakers Labrador and Louis S. St. Laurent in the foreground at the now-closed CCG base in Dartmouth. 

She was named for Vladimir Mikhaylovich Komarov, a cosmonaut and engineer who died when his Soyuz 1 capsule crashed on landing after its parachutes failed to open. Designated a "Space Control Monitoring Ship" in the 5th edition of Norman Polmar's "The Naval Institute Guide to the Soviet Navy", she was 17,500 tons full load, 510 feet long, and was commissioned in 1967. She was converted from a dry cargo ship during construction.

Kosmonaut Vladimir Komarov. © Sandy Mowat
The shot above is a better silhouette that shows her radomes and antennas to better effect against the sky, with what I presume is one of the marine railway platforms of the Dartmouth Marine Slips in the foreground. She carried tracking and communications antennas including Quad Ring, Ship Globe, Ship Wheel, and Vee Cone HF (I assume these are NATO reporting names not tied to the actual Russion designations). I'm not sure which are which, but my guess (based on common antennas between different ships in the Norman Polmar book) is that the small globe is Ship Globe, the big domes hide Ship Wheel antennas, and the Vee Cones are at the mast heads in the photos above and below (the forward set are visible just above the aft dome in the latter). 

Kosmonaut Vladimir Komarov. © Sandy Mowat
I'm not sure where the photo above was taken, but would guess she is at the south end of Pier 21.

Kosmonaut Vladimir Komarov was decommissioned in 1989 after the fall of the Soviet Union, and presumably scrapped shortly thereafter. 

Shipfax also has a post with photos of Kosmonaut Vladimir Komarov.

No comments:

Post a Comment