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HMAS Success in dry dock at ST Marine
SCALP / Storm Shadow
In the meantime, in order to meet IMO
standards for the carriage of Petrol, Oil &
Lubricants (POL), HMAS Success has recently
undergone a lengthy period of dockyard work
to fit a double hull. This will enable the vessel
to meet international standards through to her
eventual retirement in a little over a decade
Commissioned into the Navy on 23rd April 1986,
the 18,000 tonne HMAS Success is the current
underway replenishment ship in the fleet.
HMAS Success is based upon the French
multi purpose replenishment ship (OR) of the
‘Durance’ class and was built at the Cockatoo
Dockyard on Sydney Harbour, the largest vessel
ever to be built in the port of Sydney.
The vessel is capable of undertaking day and
night Replenishment At Sea (RAS) activities
from four main stations and can also undertake
concurrent Vertical Replenishment ( VERTREP)
using her embarked Sea King Helicopter. Two
of the RAS stations have dual functions, capable
of transferring fuel or dry cargo. The Sea King
will be retired in December, to be replaced by
the MRH 90 Multi-Role Helicopter currently
Since being commissioned, Success has
seen operational service in the first Gulf War
where, together with a guided missile frigate,
she represented Australia’s contribution to
the coalition effort to free Kuwait, and more
recently in support of INTERFET operations in
East Timor in 1999.
With a replacement under Phase 3 till some
years off, the Government released a Request
For Tender towards the end of 2009 to modify
Success with a double hull. Singapore Marine
in Sembawang was the winner of the bid and,
after a false start; work began in December last
year. Following modification, Success departed
Singapore in May and has since returned to her
home port of Garden Island in Sydney.
The project came in under budget at $22.6
million (from a planned $26.38 million), of
which only $12.2 million was the production
contract, the remainder being for project
management and insurance costs. At the time
of writing, Success is undergoing a further
ten-week maintenance period in Sydney to
reform routine maintenance work including an
overhaul of her RAS rigs. This will add a further
$11 million to the bill.
Several countries are currently in the market
for an underway replenishment vessel and an
idea of the options available to the RAN can be
gauged from these.
Canada in particular has a requirement
for what it terms a Joint Support Ship (JSS).
Envisaged to be a hybrid vessel around a
Landing Platform Dock (LPD) type, it has since
been refined to an AOR ship.
The two contenders, shortlisted late last
year are Spain’s Navantia with their Buque De
Aprovisionamiento En Combate (BAC – Combat
Supply Ship) ‘Cantabria’ design, and Germany’s
ThyssenKrupp Marine with the Berlin Class fleet
The German design is slightly the larger of the
two, displacing 20,240 tonnes to the Cantabria’s
19,500, though both are larger than the 18,000
ton Success (which will have internal volume
somewhat reduced due to the dual skinning).
Cantabria entered operational service with the
Spanish Navy last year.
Both manufacturers are well known to both
the RAN and local shipbuilders: Navantia are the
designers of the AF100 ‘Hobart’ Class Air Warfare
Destroyer and ‘Canberra’ Class LHD currently
under construction. ThyssenKrupp, through
their Blohm + Voss ship manufacturing entity
are the designers of the MEKO 200 frigate, which
form the basis of the RAN’s ANZAC frigates.
Besides Canada, Norway and Brazil are
reportedly interested in the Cantabria design,
which is a development of the earlier Patiño
vessel but with a double hull to meet modern
MARPOL compliance standards.
Besides Cantabria, France’s DCNS (Direction
Technique des Constructions Navales) is offering
a design based upon its adaptable Batiment
Ravitailleur D’Escadre (BRAVE) underway
replenishment tanker and support vessel, which
was unveiled at the Euronaval 2010 show in
Paris last October.
Designed as a replacement for the French
Navy’s Marne-Class the BRAVE ships, at a
reported 30,000 tonnes displacement, are much
larger than the Spanish and German offerings.
Also linked to Brazil has been Italy’s Fincantieri
with an improved version of its 13,400 tonne
Etna Class of ship delivered to the Italian Navy
It is therefore evident that a range of ships
are available for consideration by the Phase 3
Project Office, but a major question over the
coming years is where the successful design will
Given that the original wish was to construct
both it and the Fleet Oiler in Australia, timing will
be critical. The latest delays to the Air Warfare
Destroyer programme have underscored how
hard-pressed local shipyards are at the present
time. Work on the Air Warfare Destroyers and
the two LHDs is set to continue well in to the
decade, leaving little room for another major
project on the slipway before then.
The current timing of SEA 1654 Phase 3
requires construction work to begin around the
2017 timeframe, so there is not a lot of room to
SEA 1654 Phase 3 is valued at between $500 million and $1
billion and, aside from the desire to construct the vessel in a
local shipyard, there are major opportunities for Australian
Given that the original wish was to construct both it and the
Fleet Oiler in Australia, timing will be critical.
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