Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR_Dec.Jan2013 Contents SEA 1180
UAV greatly extends their radius of surveillance and
OCVs will be highly useful for other roles including
search and rescue, counter-terrorism, customs, disaster
relief, humanitarian aid, border protection, fisheries
patrols, anti-piracy actions, defence diplomacy visits,
marine pollution detection and cleanup, bio-security,
resource protection, VIP transport to and between
islands, special forces lodgement and extraction, troop
deployments, fleet training, etc.
Some OCVs might remain in one role throughout
their working life, but they will always have the potential
to change rapidly at dockside to another role. The
interchange between roles using mission modules will
be readily accomplished. Apart from the base crew,
only a few specialist crew change over, being required
to operate the newly fitted mission modules.
Which navies are already travelling down this path?
Certainly the Royal Danish Navy with their StanFlex
design. Unable to afford the replacement of 22
ships on a one-for-one basis, they came up with
11 different mission systems contained in modules
which could be fitted into a stainless steel container
weighing less than 15 tonnes. These can be loaded
in about 30 minutes onto standard fittings and
connected to services aboard their new warships.
They replaced 22 ships with just 16 vessels. Over
100 modules have now been produced covering
Harpoon missile launchers(10), Sea Sparrow missile
launchers (20), 76/62mm super rapid gun (19),
torpedo launchers (4), crane to launch RHIBs and
sea mines (22), active/passive sonars (4), remotely
operated mine hunting and disposal vehicles (5),
oceanography (1), survey (1), storage (14), anti-
pollution (3), and SIGINT/ELINT (1).
The US Navy similarly has chosen their Littoral
Combat Ship (LCS) to be capable of multiple missions
by swapping modules. The mission modules will have
the capability to be changed, tested and working
within 24 hours. These packages are for anti-surface
warfare (SUW), mine counter measures (MCM), and
anti-submarine warfare (ASW).
The mission modules are integrated into standard-
sized containers that can be installed in the ship and
other systems that can be transferred onto the ship
on pallets. The mission systems connect to the ship's
network and communicate with the other ship systems
and other surface ships and aircraft. Successful trials
have been completed with the recent commissioning
of an MCM module on LCS-2 INDEPENDENCE.
The Royal Canadian Navy’s 12 strong multi-role
Kingston Class’s primary mission is coastal surveillance
and patrol. Payloads can be added to provide limited
mine countermeasure capabilities. The vessels' design
accommodates three modular payloads: a mechanical
minesweeping system (MMS), a route survey system,
and a bottom object inspection vehicle. These can be
on- or off-loaded within 12 hours.
During Route Survey tasks, the ships deploy a
partially controllable 'fish' fitted with side-scan sonar.
This towed system creates imagery and a database
of the condition and objects on the seabed for
subsequent investigation. The database can later be
used during mine hunting tasks for example, to avoid
investigating previously located and known objects. A
remote operating vehicle (bottom object inspection)
can also be deployed to closely investigate objects
that have been observed.
Basic capabilities and baseline design for the Royal
Navy's Type 26 Global Combat Ship (T26 GCS), the
next generation of warships which are due to come
into service after 2020, have been unveiled this year.
With a displacement of around 5,400 tonnes, the T26
GCS will be around 148m in length, and among the
most advanced vessels in the Royal Navy's fleet.
The T26 GCS is expected to feature vertical missile
silos capable of housing a range of different weapons;
a medium-calibre gun; a hangar to accommodate a
Merlin or Wildcat helicopter; a flexible mission space
for unmanned air, surface and underwater vehicles,
or additional boats; and the most advanced sensors
available to the fleet.
This is a different concept from the OCV, in that
the T26 GCS will be permanently fitted for multiple
missions, whereas the OCV will gain its multi-mission
capability by swapping modules.
At the unveiling the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Mark
Stanhope, said: "The T26 GCS will be a multi-mission
warship designed for joint and multinational operations
across the full spectrum of warfare, including complex
combat operations, maritime security operations such
as counter-piracy, as well as humanitarian and disaster
relief work around the world. It will be capable of
operating independently for significant periods or as
part of a task group and will play a major role in the
defence of this country for many years."
PROJECT SEA 1180
The RAN is attracted by the possibility of swappable
mission system modules. Project SEA 1180 Offshore
Combatant Vessels (OCV) is proceeding to develop
requirements, establish feasible capabilities, and
estimate likely construction and through life costs for a
There is a lot of commonality between the sonars and
ROVs required for mine counter measures and those
required for survey and oceanography work.
The US Navy similarly has chosen their Littoral Combat
Ship (LCS) to be capable of multiple missions by
HMAS Albany conducts Officer of the Watch maneauvres
Credit: CoA / Andrew Dakin
Asia Pacific Defence Reporter DECEMBER - JANUARY 2013 13
6/12/12 11:36 AM
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