Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR October 2015 Contents SEA 1180
It is instructive to look at the Royal Danish Navy’s
Stanflex design and see this as a possible way
forward for SEA 1180.
DANISH STANFLEX DESIGN
The standard Danish stainless steel modules are 3
metres long, 3.5 metres wide and 2.5 metres high.
Weapons and antennae are mounted on the module’s
roof. Module swaps are typically accomplished within
30 minutes using a 15 tonne crane. After a few
minutes system testing, the vessel is ready to depart.
Although the Flyvefisken Class is an example of
a variable module fitout, the Royal Danish Navy is
introducing StanFlex module capability to all of its
new build fleet including frigates, corvettes, offshore
patrol vessels and minehunters.
The seven main types of modules include a
76mm rapid gun, Harpoon missile launchers, a six
cell vertical launch system (VLS) for Evolved Sea
Sparrow missiles (ESSM), MU90 torpedo launchers,
sonar, mine warfare drones and a 15T crane. Other
specialist modules are available.
A more sophisticated naval gun and electro-optical
system, plus additional sensors would be required for
RAN warships. There also is the possibility of having
detachable armour from a firm such as Tencate, to
protect the bridge and other critical areas, without
adding significantly to the topside weight.
Note that these Danish module capabilities are
similar to systems fitted to the RAN’s current frigates
and future air warfare destroyers. Standard modules
could be introduced into SEA 1180 vessels and
considered seriously in the SEA 5000 Future Frigate
ARMIDALE PATROL BOAT
The fourteen Armidale Class patrol boats (ACPB)
were built at Austal in Henderson WA and
commissioned between June 2005 and February
2008. They were designed for offshore patrol tasks,
best known for their work off the North West coast of
the Australian mainland for interception of suspected
illegal entry vessels (SIEV) and also asset protection
of the oil and gas platforms located there.
There have been structural problems with these
craft during their heavy work load, far in excess of that
originally planned. Naturally this has focused a lot of
negative media comment, not all of it well informed.
According to Vice-Admiral R J Griggs, when
previous Chief of Navy but now Vice-Chief ADF,
in a statement issued in March 2014, “All vessels
currently assigned to Operation RESOLUTE have
had interim repairs conducted to rectify engine room
cracking, and do have operational limitations until the
fully engineered repair solution is implemented. These
limitations have no absolute wave height restrictions,
the wave height determines the maximum speed the
vessel can proceed at. These operational limitations
have minimal impact on the Armidales’ ability to
conduct the range of border protection missions they
are assigned to.
“Defence is considering the replacement to the
Armidale Class as highlighted in the 2013 Defence
White Paper. Any proposal put to Government will
include options, rather than a definitive solution.
These options are likely to include both steel and
aluminium based hull designs.
“Navy is providing the required number of Armidale
Class Patrol Boats to Border Protection Command.”
APDR asked Captain Michael Harris RAN,
Commander Mine Warfare, Clearance Diving,
Hydrographic, Meteorology and Patrol Force for his
views on the situation in December 2014. Captain
Harris told us “The Armidale Class Patrol Boat is
capable of sustained operations in northern exclusive
economic zone waters in tropical weather conditions
and capable of surviving cyclonic conditions. They
are capable of deployment to Christmas and Cocos
Islands and to the South Tasman Rise and the
South West Pacific for occasional patrol operations.
Vessels are also deployed to regional countries for
exercises and cooperative operations.”
APDR has a continuing interest in the acquisition
of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to operate from
patrol boats to extend their ‘eyes and ears’ with
real-time video. We have been aware of Navy Minor
Project 1942 - Navy Unmanned Air System (NUAS).
The purpose of this project is to fit a UAS capability
to an Armidale Class Patrol Boat, to assess the
integration challenges and the capability which can
be achieved. Since DMS Maritime are the prime
contractor and Design Authority for Armidales, it was
not a question really to put to Austal.
However, when APDR asked Austal about the
possibility of adding this UAS capability to their
designs, their spokesperson responded positively
“Austal has previously worked with Insitu/Boeing to
evaluate the integration of the Scan Eagle UAV into
the Cape Class. The launch and recovery mechanism
is easily accommodated within the existing design
envelope, with only minor modifications needed.”
When APDR asked if Defence’s Capability
Acquisition and Sustainment Group is currently
active in specifying capability requirements for a
fleet of Armidale patrol boat replacements, their
SEA 1180 spokesperson replied “Yes. As part
of this, Defence has been working through the
RPDE process with Industry to refine the currently
developed requirements for the replacement patrol
The Defence Minister has already advised that the
Armidale replacements will be larger vessels. This
suggests extra capability will be included. Maybe
they have looked closely at the utility the RNZN
obtain from their two, shortly to become three, 85
metre 1900 tonne helicopter-capable OPVs.
PROSPECTIVE AUSTAL DESIGNS
Austal are currently in a construction program of eight
Cape Class Patrol Boats for the Australian Border
Force. These 58 metre aluminium monohulls may not
be large enough for SEA 1180. Defence previously
set an expectation that they would consider both
steel and aluminium for SEA 1180 OCVs. If the
Armidale replacements are to be corvettes, they will
need to be built in steel.
Another Austal alternative would be their aluminium
80 metre Multi-Role Vessel (MRV) which looks like a
smaller version of Austal’s Littoral Combat Ship now
in service with the US Navy and the subject of a
major build program. The MRV 80 is a 400 tonne
trimaran requiring a 35 crew and with 87 berths.
It has a 500 square metre mission/logistics deck,
accessed via a wharf loading ramp and having a
4 metre height clearance across the whole deck.
The 290 square metre flight deck and associated
hangar can handle UAVs and helicopters up to RAN
MRH-90 (Taipan) size.
BLOHM + VOSS (TKMS) MEKO®
This 84 metre 1500 tonne displacement patrol
corvette design combines the fighting power of
a corvette with the economy of an OPV ship
platform in its hull, machinery and fitout. The ship’s
platform incorporates naval features such as 10
tonne medium helicopter operation, damage control
structure, CODAD diesel engines providing speed
up to 25 knots, and signature reduction.
Blohm + Voss claim the fusion of corvette and OPV
makes the patrol corvette a cost effective solution for
navies requiring a low-cost and economical platform
for patrol and policing duties that is also capable of
naval missions, including combat.
The current specification notes 65 crew and 23
other passengers. The design and fitout needs more
work on an integrated platform management system
and other automation aids to reduce crew size to 40
or less and allow up to 50 passengers.
When APDR asked if TKMS had any preference
about where to build their patrol corvette their
spokesperson responded “ThyssenKrupp Marine
Systems would work with an Australian shipyard as
Asia Pacific Defence Reporter OCT 2015 33
Asia Pacific Defence Reporter OCT 2015 33
17/09/2015 5:19 pm
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