Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR Oct 2013 Contents 74 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter OCT 2013
roject SEA 1180 Offshore Combatant Vessel
(OCV) was intended to provide the RAN
with a 20 strong class of ships which would
replace 26 existing Armidale patrol boats,
coastal mine hunters, hydrographic and oceanographic
vessels. By using a large standard hull and fitting it with
swappable modules, serious economies in crewing,
training and sustainment were on offer.
The 2012 Defence Capability Plan described SEA
1180 as “The concept of the project is to develop
an Offshore Combatant Vessel (OCV) as part of
a system that has at its centre transportable and
deployable mission modules to deliver the effects
currently achieved in the existing role-specific vessels,
including the inherent support to sustain them. The
mission modules will maximise the use of unmanned
technologies including surface, sub-surface and air
systems needed to achieve the required effects.
“The mission modules will be capable of transportation
by land, air, rail or sea and be deployable from the
OCV, other Naval vessels, vessels of opportunity, or
independently from ashore (ports).
“In addition to the traditional roles of the current fleet,
the OCV and mission systems will provide support
to long-range counter-terrorism and counter-piracy
2013 DEFENCE WHITE PAPER
The 2013 DWP wiped SEA 1180 from current plans
with this statement in section 8.56 “Defence will
continue to have the capabilities to conduct patrol,
mine-hunting and hydrographic roles. Government
decisions on the scope and roles of future vessels
will take account of the technological maturity of
particular solutions, as well as the remaining life of
current vessels. A modular multirole vessel remains
a possible longer-term capability outcome, subject
to technological maturity and an ability to provide
operational flexibility with lower costs of ownership.
However, in the shorter-term, Government will seek to
replace the current Armidale Class patrol boats with
a proven vessel to ensure that Defence can continue
to provide a patrol capability. Similarly, Government
intends to upgrade and extend the existing Mine Hunter
Coastal and Survey Motor Launch Hydrographic
vessels until the longer-term solution can be delivered."
In other words, SEA 1180 is moved right away
from current consideration because of the urgency
to provide a replacement patrol boat class for the
significantly overworked Armidales (see “Time to
replace Armidales?” elsewhere in this APDR edition.)
Does this now mean the OCV project is ‘in limbo’?
It shouldn’t, because there are some good concepts
which could still be realised with the Armidale
For example, mine-hunting and disposal no longer
requires a specialist hull, as it can be done using
remotely operated underwater vessels (ROVs/UUVs).
Waters deeper than 300 meters are not such an
important factor in mine hunting.
Most hydrography can similarly be done using ROVs.
Getting access to shallow waters will require a small
auxiliary catamaran. Sonar technology and specialist
ROVs can explore the deep down sea floor and
conduct mapping. Any reefs and sea-mounts would be
revealed using ROV sonar technology.
ASEMAR – AUTONOMOUS
UNMANNED VEHICLE FOR MARITIME
SURVEILLANCE AND SECURITY
The French Asemar project is developing a next
generation high performance Autonomous Unmanned
Vehicle (AUV) for operating in unknown areas; reacting
when faced with unpredictable events; navigating and
HMAS Wollongong conducts officer of the watch manoeuvres
with Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Laut (TNI-AL) KRI
Hiu. Credit: CoA / Navy Imagery Unit – North.
GEOFF SLOCOMBE // VICTORIA
límbo n. condition of neglect or
oblivion (The Australian Concise
The French Asemar
project is developing a
next generation high
Unmanned Vehicle (AUV)
for operating in unknown
areas; reacting when faced
with unpredictable events;
navigating and locating
objects with accuracy; while
with a mother ship.
19/09/13 9:58 AM
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