Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR March 2017 Contents 30 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter MAR 2017
working really hard to ma ximize Australian industry
content and be in a position to build 12 quality ships
for the Navy, on time, on budget."
And what design will Damen Shipyards be
tendering? Nothing firm is known yet, but their 75
metre length overall, 1400 tonnes displacement,
helicopter and UAV capable OPV, which can include
a multi-mission RHIB and other small craft launch and
recovery bay, looks as though it could be an excellent
design basis for Australia’s needs.
FASSMER AND LUERSSEN
Fassmer have built their OPV-80 design for two
South American countries – Chile and Colombia –
with deliveries ranging between 2008 and 2014.
This design with length overall of 80.6 metres
and 1850 tonnes displacement seems to fit the
likely characteristics and capabilities required for
Australia’s future OPVs. The special features available
could include an active anti-rolling tank, helicopter
hangar, deck crane with a safe working load of 4
tonnes at 10 metres, single point davits with wave
compensation, a modular platform concept for simple
integration of different combat systems, rescue zone,
and launching ramp for a rapid interceptor boat.
APDR has been unable to get any comment
from Fassmer’s Australian prime contractor, TKMS,
about either work being done with Australian
defence industry to develop an OPV AIC Plan or
any generalised details of what design is likely to
be tendered. Clearly the gag that Defence puts on
potential RFT respondents is working well in their
case. However, TKMS do have extensive industry
contacts, are engaged now in industry discussions
and have an existing Australian supply chain.
Luerssen have a distinguished history as a naval
shipbuilder with 585 vessels delivered over the past
60 years. Of these 236 were built for Germany,
195 for export and 154 constructed under licence
elsewhere. These include 199 patrol boats, 237 fast
patrol boats, 5 OPVs including 4 to Darussalam, 16
cor vettes, 12 frigates, 68 MCMVs, 14 naval support
vessels and 34 other craft.
Luerssen told APDR they have engaged regularly
and continuously with Australian defence and
non-defence industry suppliers for a wide range of
maritime capabilities, more recently since 2015. The
company has sought contact with many Australian
suppliers and conducted site visits to Australian
companies and is confident, even impressed by,
the Australian capabilities. Luerssen say they are
committed to long term engagement with the
Australian supply chain for Australian as well as
international programs and have already identified
Australian companies which are of great interest for
the OPV and other international projects both in naval
vessels and their yacht business.
Out of their proven family of designs, APDR
believes Luerssen will be proposing a mature one that
meets the operational and technical requirements of
the RAN. Their OPV 80 design offers a flexible
customised design with growth margins for weapon
systems, accommodation and combat suites. They
are capable of heavyweight helicopter operation and
can have multirole capabilities using containerised
mission modules. RHIBs are carried inside shell
recesses or can be launched through a stern slipway.
WHERE ARE WE NOW?
Commodore Stephen Hughes, Director General
Littoral (within Navy Capability Division), and Program
Sponsor for SEA 1180 OPV project, provided this
statement to APDR:
‘Using a Competitive Evaluation Process that
includes the Analysis of Alternatives, Design Studies
and a Request for Tender for an experienced
designer and Australian shipbuilder in partnership
with Defence, will ensure that OPV construction can
commence in 2018.
‘The OPV is an exciting opportunity for the Royal
Australian Navy as part of the recapitalisation of
Australia’s naval fleet of patrol vessels, frigates,
destroyers, replenishment ships and submarines.
The OPV provides an outstanding opportunity for
Australian industry and the workforce required to
‘The OPV will deliver a more capable vessel that
will provide greater reach and endurance than the
existing Armidale Class patrol boats. The OPV will
be capable of undertaking several different roles
including enhanced border protection and patrol
missions across the demanding Australian maritime
environment and further abroad if required.
‘As intended under the First Principles Review
of Defence, this project is leading the way in
developing Navy capability through robust and
cooperative delivery processes and enterprise
relationships between Navy, the Capability
Acquisition and Sustainment Group and industry.
The collaborative approach and progressing the
CEP in accordance with a well-defined program of
activities, positions the project to deliver the OPV
as required by Government.’
The RNZN has excellent experience with its two
85 metre OPVs – built by BAE Systems in Melbourne
and one wonders why they were not considered
for SEA 1180. They have now each travelled more
than 150,000 nautical miles in the seven years since
2010 commissioning and conduct missions from the
Tropics to dodging icebergs in the Southern Ocean.
This has resulted in their four Armidale-sized Inshore
Patrol Vessels currently being barely used, while NZ
is now acquiring another OPV in the early 2020s.
Each of the three future OPV contenders are
now developing their AIC Plans, partnering
arrangements and writing what they hope are
winning tender documents.
The chosen design, ship builder partnership
arrangements and AIC plan, with associated financial
arrangements, might be known by the end of third
quarter 2017, but it could be more immediately
rewarding to plan a bet when the Melbourne Cup
runs on the first Tuesday in November 2017.
When it is complete around 2030, the future R AN
OPV fleet will be a step increase in the capabilities of
Navy‘s patrol forces. Meanwhile considerable effort
is going into maintaining the seaworthiness of the
RAN’s existing Armidales and Bay Class vessels.
HMAS Armidale as she leaves Darwin Harbour.
Credit: CoA / Helen Frank
OFFSHORE PATROL VESSELS
24/02/2017 2:46 PM
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