Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR March 2017 Contents that this shipbuilding project will revitalise Australia’s
naval shipbuilding industry and retain vital skills.
Defence has advised APDR that they have conducted
Industry Briefs (roadshows) for both OPV and Future
Frigates in all of the capital cities with a high level of
engagement from industry. They state that ‘All of the
designers have been and are continuing to engage
with Australian industry.’
BACKGROUND TO THIS SAGA
The existing RAN fleet of Armidale Class patrol boats
(ACPB) has been seriously over worked for a number
of years, largely as a result of Government policy
on interception of Suspected Illegal Entry Vessels
(SIEVs), commonly called people smuggler boats.
The RAN has always considered that the ACPB
replacements should embark a helicopter and/or
unmanned aerial vehicle, probably remotely piloted, to
allow a surge in surveillance and response capabilities
without the need to deploy additional ships.
Discussions about the future OPVs has taken
on the premise that the ADF’s commitment to
Border Force’s maritime activities will remain at
around current levels. Further they do not expect
that the OPVs will need to be capable of operating
below Latitude 48 degrees South in the Southern
Ocean since specialist vessels have already been
acquired for this role.
The 2016 Defence Integrated Investment Plan
states clearly the Commonwealth’s intentions with
regard to OPVs: ‘Twelve offshore patrol vessels
will replace the 13 existing Armidale Class patrol
boats. Following a competitive evaluation process,
construction will commence in Australia in 2018
as the first element of the continuous shipbuilding
program, with all 12 offshore patrol vessels to be
delivered by 2030.
‘The patrol vessels will enhance the ADF’s capacity
to support border security, maritime resource
protection and military patrol and response operations.
These larger patrol vessels will be primarily focused
on border security and resource protection. They will
also be capable of more extended operations, with
enhanced range and endurance to improve support to
operations further afield, particularly across maritime
South East Asia and the South Pacific.
‘The acquisition of a class of patrol vessels with
greater capacity than the Armidale Class should
enable the destroyer and frigate force to concentrate
on higher tempo, higher risk tasks beyond Australia’s
coastal areas. These larger patrol vessels of around
70–80 metres in length will be able to embark
unmanned aerial, underwater and surface vehicles
and operate larger sea boats than the existing
The extensive competitive evaluation process
conducted by Defence between April and
December 2016 on OPV designs from Damen
Shipyards, Fassmer and Luerssen will have given
Navy’s project team a good insight into designs
likely to feature in the three OPV tenders. The AIC
plan, ship builder partnership and cost estimates
for construction, commissioning and in-service
roles will be critical in finally choosing one OPV
design and construction partner.
SHIPBUILDING MOVING FROM ONE
YARD TO ANOTHER A MISTAKE?
Obviously Defence Industry Minister P yne wants
to make sure there is no impediment to getting
OPV construction started at Osborne once key
decisions are made and long lead-time materials
have been ordered.
Speaking recently to the Committee for Economic
Development of Australia (CEDA) audience in
Adelaide he said “And we have announced the
separation of ASC Propriety Limited into three
individual government owned companies to support
the key capabilities of shipbuilding, submarine
sustainment and infrastructure and enable a more
flexible approach to managing investment across
“Finalising the infrastructure planning is an important
step in completing the Government’s continuous
build Naval Shipbuilding Plan. I’m delighted to
confirm today that on Monday 5th December, the
Commonwealth Government engaged Odense
Maritime Technologies (OMT) for the detailed design
stage of the Osborne Shipyard.
“OMT are global leaders in design, engineering
and project management for the maritime industry.
OMT will work with a range of stakeholders including
Defence, ASC, the SA Government, Future Frigates
& Offshore Patrol Vessels shortlisted tenderers to
deliver a purpose-fit shipyard to ensure both the
minor & major surface vessel programs are delivered
on time in 2018 & 2020 respectively.
“Redevelopment of the Osborne shipyard & the
implementation of the Offshore Patrol Vessels &
Future Frigates programs will be carefully managed to
ensure that the Air Warfare Destroyer & Collins Class
sustainment activities continue to meet the expected
No comment from the Minister about what
might happen to build OPVs at Henderson. Most
keen obser vers have expressed disbelief that the
Commonwealth would consider such a plan to split
OPV construction serially across two sites.
The shipyard workers at ASC Osborne need to
be regularly reassured that Defence has a good
handle on what might happen when. Promises do not
translate to job security and vital skills retention.
Damen Shipyards has taken an important initiative in
developing their AIC Plan. They recently conducted
two Industry Briefings aimed at Australian companies
active in the maritime and defence industries.
Signifying a proactive step in the preliminary
stages of the tender process, Damen held the
Industry Briefings for 233 people representing 170
companies in Adelaide on 3 February, and in Perth
for 350 people representing 260 companies on
5 February, to become better acquainted with the
capabilities, ser vices and products of local suppliers.
Damen’s Project Manager for the Australian
industry capability part of the tender process,
Wolter Ten Bokkel Huinink, and Damen’s Australia
representative, Mark Todd, highlighted the key aspects
of the company’s motivations in presentations at both
Industry Briefings. Using Damen’s own vessel design
as a starting point, they described the various work
packages that would be involved and the criteria on
which Damen intends to select suppliers.
The main theme of the presentations was
explaining Damen’s objective to complete the
contracts at Australian yards using local suppliers.
“ We are committed to involving both the Australian
shipbuilding and marine equipment industries to the
max,” Mr Ten Bokkel Huinink said.
“The fact that these vessels will be comprehensively
built in Australia means that this project is effectively a
catalyst to the greater goal of developing a sustainable
shipbuilding industry in the country.”
Following the Western Australian briefing,
Jonathan Smith, General Manager of Australian
Marine Complex Management, said: “It was a
pleasure to have Damen visit... The anticipation and
enthusiasm in the room last Friday was the highest
I’ve seen in relation to any of the major projects that
have visited WA.”
David Land, Supply Consultant – Defence, Industry
Capability Network in South Australia said: “This
briefing has been really useful for us, giving us a clear
insight in what Damen is looking for in a supplier as
it attempts to build up a local supply chain for this
important project. More than that, the presentations
have been really open, giving us an opportunity
also to share ideas and strategies. It’s a good sign
that there is a willingness to develop a collaborative
approach to undertaking the project – something that
is in everyone’s best interests.”
Speaking after the briefings, Mr Todd said: "I was
humbled by the turnout and the incredible interest
shown by local industry in both SA and WA. We are
OFFSHORE PATROL VESSELS
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