Thursday, May 05, 2011

Austral Trimaran option for Australian Navy

According to Defence Technology International, one solution to the Australian military's lack of transport ships is a 102 meter trimaran sitting unused in Western Australia ("Good Deal", Bradley Perrett, DTI, April 2011). The ship was built by Austral, with a hull design similar to that of the US Navy's Freedom-class Littoral combat ships (which are made by Austral in the USA). The ship could be quickly modified to carry out a similar logistical function to the Fortitude class Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSV) which Austral is also making for the US military.

The ship could also use interchangeable mission modules, as envisaged for the Fortitude class ships. The modules are shipping container sized and can be loaded on the ship for different tasks. There have been problems with the mission module concept, both in production delays and inflexibility. A simpler approach could be taken by the Australian military, with existing truck, container and trailer mounted equipment, simply driven onto the ship and used when needed. Some of this could be equipment used already by the Army, Navy and Air Force on land. Other equipment could be commercial off the shelf. Containerised equipment designed for mining companies and shipping container sized data centres would be particularly suitable.

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