August 4, 2015

Tony's Navy - Future Frigates, OPVs/OCVs and his left profile stare


Abbott walks in front of the uniforms and new ship HMAS Canberra - Abbott's left profile displayed. Notice Abbott is not part of the  group but their great leader, staring at something in the distance - profound.

Prime Minister Abbott likes to be photographed/associated in left profile with weapons and uniforms whenever possible. On the Japanese side - at least Defence Minister Nakatani served in the military. Note that Defence Minister Andrews rarely, if ever, enjoys (or is permitted) such weapons/uniform photo opportunities. 

Abbott dressed in an Adelaide shipbuilders uniform (or Bob the Builder?) proudly displays his left profile. AWD HMAS Hobart behind, of course. Abbott again stares at that thingy in the distance - profound ;-)
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This morning to make the public forget the rightful sacking (sorry umm "resignation") of Australia's Parliamentary Speaker Bronwyn Bishop Australia's current Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, announced a A$40 Billion shipbuilding program. The rather vague announcement occurred on a small radio station (891 ABC) in the city of Adelaide. The shipbuilding work may include:

-  8 "Future Frigates" possibly weighing 6,000 tonnes, to gradually replace the ANZAC class frigates in the 2020s. The Future Frigates will be multirole but with greater emphasis on ASW than the new Air Warfare Destroyers,  and

-  up to 20 Offshore Patrol/Combatant Vessels (OCVs) of various modular shapes and sizes also being called "Corvettes" - to replace a variety of small ship classes - weighing between 1,000 and 2,000 tonnes

As part of the Bishop deflection it is apparent Abbott has brought forward the Frigate/OCV material that is to be placed in context in Australia's 2015 Defence White Paper. This paper is to be announced this month or in September.

All this increases the likelihood that Australia's future submarines will be built almost totally offshore, in Japan or Germany or France - while the combat system will be mostly designed and built in the US. Australia cannot afford the extreme extra costs of building all its warships and submarines in Australia.

The informal radio station form of announcement is calculated to provide good news for Adelaide without providing essential details or promises. Abbott's radio implication that all the shipbuilding work will be done in Adelaide will attract a posse of State Premiers, Federal politicians and major businessmen - all beating a path to Abbott's door. 

Said posse will honour Abbott and be grateful when he throws some ship design, management and building contracts in their general direction. Some work will shift from Adelaidians, knowing their luck wouldn't last, off to Williamstown dockyard in Victoria and also to Western Australia, New South Wales, Tasmania, ACT and Queensland. Much, or most, of the design work must actually occur overseas among major foreign contractors.

More detail is here - note that journalists have been forced to fill in the blanks with history and conjecture as we await official detail from Mr Abbott.


-  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-04/major-shipbuilding-plan-expected-for-sa/6668956

So far the 3 Air Warfare Destroyers (AWDs) have cost 9 A$ Billion total - so the 8 Future Frigates and up to 20 OCVs will cost over A$40 Billion in today's dollars. In any case, as the Future Frigates and various OCV hulls will be continuous build, no meaningful dollar value can be put on them.

Somewhere in the background Defence Minister Kevin Andrews is playing some role in Mr Abbott's show. More concrete details are in the joint Prime Minister-Defence Minister Media Release of  August 4, 2015 posted on Submarine Matters on August 5, 2015.

Pete

4 comments:

Nicky said...

HI Pete
My take is that Australia should talk to the US Coast Guard on getting the National Security cutters. They would be perfect for Australia to protect their Home waters

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

On OPVs/OCVs

The US 4,000+ tonne National Security cutters are too large for what Australia needs and can afford. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Coast_Guard#Cutters

Australia wants something far less than 2,000 tonnes. If America can only offer large designs Australia will need to buy from Europe, UK or Asia.

The Singapore build Littoral Mission Vessel https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence-class_littoral_mission_vessel may be the best platform to build the 20 different shapes and sizes for the OCV/OPVs

Regards

Pete

Nicky said...

Hi Pete,
I know the USCG is planning on building an OPC, There is one that called Eastern Shipbuilding that they a proposing and Chuck Hill of Cg blog did a post on them. Here's the link

http://chuckhillscgblog.net/2014/04/29/easterns-opc-concept-model/

http://chuckhillscgblog.net/2014/06/15/more-info-on-the-eastern-opc-proposal/

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

The wiki entry on the OPC seems to be https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Offshore_Patrol_Cutter . Which shows a ship likely to be too heavy for what Australia wants. Also better if Australia buys an existing tested design/base in-service somewhere.

Regards

Pete