Sunday, June 14, 2009
Australian Offshore Combatant Vessels
According to "Navy the Big Winner - but but when" (Kym Bergmann, Asia-Pacific Defence Reporter, May 2009), the Australian Government has decided to rationalise the Navy's patrol boats, mine counter measures, hydrographic and oceanographic vessels into one class of twenty "Offshore Combatant Vessels". These will be larger than the current patrol boats, at up to 2,000 tonnes. This would appear to be the role the Austal Multi-Role Vessel was designed for. The MRV can be thought of as an Armidale patrol boat welded onto the front of a Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV), making a lightly armed trimaran which can also carry containerised loads and operate a helicopter, or even a F-35B.
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I have researched potential OCV's since the 2009 Defence White Paper was released.
Recently(Oct 27)a setback in the building of the AWD hull has unsettled our politicians. This could sabotage the SEA 1180 project.
I think this would be fool hardy, as in the accelerated changes in the global environment/theater, our global strategy will have to change with it.
SEA 1180 will ad balance to our fleet and ad capabilities that will be needed(ASW,ISR)in the future.
I came to the conclusion that the only answer to the requirements set down in the Defence White Paper was to use a Corvette combination. Ten MRC78 Corvettes and ten Gowind Presence Corvettes. The initial cost comes to just over 4.2 billion.
Using this combination would allow increased capability to Green and Blue sea operations.
One down side, approximately 270 more personnel required.
A question was asked(Oct 27), how would a 2000tonne ship could pull up next to a fishing boat? It wouldn't, even the Armidale would do the same thing. Deploy a Zodiac with boarding party! It's what the OCV can do that the Armidale can't is the valid point!
All the moves thus far have been made logically by which ever government has been in place. Granted their have been some mistakes, hence the cautious approach(Sea-sprite etc). With regard to Super Hornet, JSF program and all the detractors, the Rudd government ratified (the decision make by the previous government)the logical conclusion. For the proposed Future Submarine and Offshore Combatant Vessels, I suggest the same should be said.
To peace, cheers.
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