March 21, 2016

Offshore Patrol Vessel (SEA 1180) CEP occuring right now

A model of ST Marine's Fearless 75 design on display at Pacific 2015 in Sydney. ST Marine has already built smaller Fearless 55's for the Singaporean Navy. (Model photo and caption courtesy IHS Jane’s 360 /Ridzwan Rahmat)
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River class OPV. Several in service with UK RN, one with Royal Thai Navy (Artwork courtesy IHS Jane's 360
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A Venezuelan Navy Coast Guard Guaicamacuto class patrol boat which is based on Navantia's Avante 1400 design. Avante variants are also serving in the Spanish Navy (Armada) (Photo courtesy Navantia via IHS Jane's 360
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While Submarine Matters has been focussing on the, at times, vitriolic Future Submarine CEP debate other Australian non-sub acquisition processes are intrain.

This includes the current SEA 1180 Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Competitive Evaluation Process. 
The OPV CEP has the more specific name “Analysis of OPV Alternatives” and is seeking to assess existing off the shelf vessels with minimum changes. 

Compiling a shortlist of (ideally) three or more was outsourced (?) to UK based BMT Defence Services in September 2015, BTW here is a BMT PDF Paper which seems to be on the OPV. The short list, with indicative costs, is due mid-2016. Australia's Defence Department is due to present a recommendation to Prime Minister Turnbull (if he’s there after the 2016 Election) and then to the  broader National Security Committee of Cabinet to make decisions.

The construction of OPVs has been brought forward by two years, with a continuous onshore build projected to commence in 2018 [see 2016 Defence White Paper (DWP) paragraph 4.118].

Twelve OPVs are being built to progressively replace Armidale Class Patrol Boats (which are rapidly wearing out in part due to searching for refugee vessels). See 2016 DWP paragraph 4.117.

The new OPVs will be:

-  much larger and more capable ships than the 300 ton Armidales
-  will have a helicopter
-  probably will be UAV, UUV and surface SUV capable
-  have a longer range and endurance than the Armidales
-  no SEA 1180 OPV capability requirements have been publicly released(?) but it could be a vessel of around 80m and 1,500 tonnes
-  large enough to accommodate a reasonably sized gun (30 - 56mm?)
-  and to safely operate the helicopter.

SEA 1180 is now squarely about patrol boat replacement with much less emphasis on multi-mission (eg, survey vessel) replacement. Mine-hunting maybe a future modular capability.

The new OPVs will be a substantial purchase - see the 2016 Defence Integrated Investment Program (DIIP), page 89, Table 6, which contains the following mentions:

-  “Offshore Patrol Vessel – Evaluation, Scheduled for approval,  Less than $100 million”, then 
-  “Offshore Patrol Vessel – Design and Construction, 2016-2033, $3 billion - $4 billion”.

POSSIBLE CONTENDERS

 include:

-  BAE River class OPV with one already constructed in Thailand for the Royal Thai Navy.  Several already built in UK for UK Royal Navy. (various sizes, eg. "Clyde" is 81.5m and 1,850 tonnes)
-  Navantia’s Avante 1400 (80m, 1,500 tonnes full load)
-  ST Marine’s Fearless 75 (75m, 1,100 tons)

DCNS, Fincantieri and Damen may also be possibles for the shortlist of three or more.

COMMENT

The OPVs may be assembled in many shipyards around Australia but I’d say probably in Perth, WA and/or Williamstown, VIC.

SOURCES

Mile Yeo writing in the Asia Pacific Defence Reporter (APDR), March 2016, "WHITE PAPER GIVES THE GO-AHEAD", pages 23-25, (subscription) http://www.asiapacificdefencereporter.com/



Pete

37 comments:

Ztev Konrad said...

Is the RNZN Otago class OPV , built by Tenix( BAE) at Williamson Victoria from about 2005 to 2009 not in contention? If not this particular type , slightly smaller cousin may meet the Australian requirement ?
Otago class is 85m long , 1900t disp and with helicopter hangar and landing spot. A small tweaking of this design gives SEA1180

Peter Coates said...

Hi Ztev

A good question. It seems that much is UP TO BAE:

- which took over from Tenix builder of the 2 Otago class. As https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protector-class_offshore_patrol_vessel indicates there seem to have been weight and other problems with the Otagos.

- very significantly BAE is offering the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/River-class_patrol_vessel which seems to be proving a more successful design

May go down to BAE's marketing strategy if it offers one or both designs as competitors.

Regards

Pete

Ace Pilot said...

I heard Mitsubishi Heavy Industry also shows interest to participated in this program with DEX which will be produced at least 22 numbers for JMSDF.

If Japan adopt Australian made radar for their DEX as well, it may become another strong contender from fledgling Japanese defense industry.

Nicky K.D Chaleunphone said...

Hi Pete,
Australia needs an OPV with Combat capability. I think the ST Marine's Fearless 75 design or the River class OPV is one design option.

MHalblaub said...

May I mention K130?
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braunschweig-class_corvette
1,800 t displacement
76 mm cannon
2 30 mm autocannons
Big and long range anti ship missiles
2 MTU diesel
Variable pitch propeller

Israel ordered 4
Price 460 million €

MHalblaub said...

Dear Pete,
You may add to K130 features:
Crew size: 65
RAM
Range @ 15 kn: 2,500 or 4,000 nm (?)
Top speed: 26 kn
Cruise speed with one diesel: 20 kn
Mine laying capability on helicopter deck
Hangar for two UAVs

Far more info here with google translator:
https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korvette_K130
Especially Acccording to the combat system and radar.

Regards,
MHalblaub

Ztev Konrad said...

The UK River class doesnt seem to have a helicopter hangar in its current designs

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/River-class_patrol_vessel#/media/File:OPVinfographic.jpg
I would be fascinated to learn what an 'enhanced flight deck' is.
While the ships were built in Melbourne it seems the design had its origins elsewhere which may not be to BAes benefit.
"Designed by STX Canada Marine/Vard, the vessels are based on earlier OPV designs developed for the Irish Naval Service and the Mauritanian Coast Guard."
"The OPV has an overall length of 85m, a waterline length of 77.6m and a moulded breadth of 14m. Depth to main deck is 6.8m and design draft is 3.6m. Displacement of the boat is 1,900t. The vessel has a maximum ranger of 6,000nm at 15kt speed and an endurance of 21 days."
"It can complement over 80 people including core ship's company, flight personnel, agency officials and additional members.The OPV is armed with a remotely controlled MSI DS25 stabilised naval gun system. Two M2HB QCB .50 calibre Browning machine guns are also fitted on the vessel".
http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/protectorclassoffsho/

The Irish version is here, the Samuel Beckett class, which has obvious differences
http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/samuel-beckett-class-offshore-patrol-vessels-opvs/

Peter Coates said...

Thanks Ztev Konrad [at 22/3/16 9:15 AM] and MHalblaub

A bit unfortunate that the full criteria for the OPV CEP aren't available.

Then we'd have a sounder basis to assess possible contenders.

The ability to temporarily house 50+ refugees may be an unwritten criteria.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub [at 22/3/16 5:23 AM]

I'm to a degree guessing but I think selectors were after an OPV that sits between civilian refugee interceptor and less a warship.

So perhaps a smaller than a 76 mm gun, maybe 2 x 50 calibre and no AS missiles required.

Can anyone find more info on the OPV CEP requirements?

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky K.D Chaleunphone

Yes some combat ability and ability to Upgrade to larger main gun and maybe Hellfire missiles would be useful.

The Armidales appear to be mainly used searching for refugee boats in northern Australia waters. Then picking up a refugee boatload when needed.

Choosing Singapore's ST Marine Fearless 75 would cement relations with an important southeast Asian (near) ally. Choosing River class OPV from the UK has the advantage that the UK (along with US) is Australia's most familiar weapon supplier.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Ace Pilot

Best to provide links where possible.

The DEX http://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/year-2015-news/june-2015-navy-naval-forces-defense-industry-technology-maritime-security-global-news/2821-mitsubishi-heavy-industries-unveiled-30ff-or-dex-next-generation-vessel-concept-for-the-jmsdf.html would be a ship class too large if the 3,000 tonne model is offered.

Part of DEX's size may be to stabilise a 5 inch (127mm) gun which is very likely way bigger than envisaged for the OPV CEP.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

I can understand on submarines, but with OPV, why not Incat or Austral. the LCS-2 is an Austral design. Aussies are right up there with the best in powered catamaran design.
KQN

MHalblaub said...

Dear Pete,
The K130 is a replacement for German Gepard-class fast attack craft. With just 380 t displacement although the ship had a 76 mm cannon and anti ship missiles.

The Gepards were misused for peace keeping missions at Lebanon and Somalia. Without air condition and proper survaliance tools. These ships were thought to attack ships of a nearby enemy.

Australia may chose a smaller canon but the 76 mm is also nice for coastal raids.

Also the RBS15 MK3 are a nice option and not required.

The forrest of antennas are also an
option. The K130 is also used for SIGINT by German Navy.

Another nice comparison to the old Gepard-class is the radar cross section. The K130 has a far smaller one!

Well, there are ships with less radar signature:
http://youtu.be/hYaAc2Uuf_M
The ship by Kockums is also interesting.

Regards,
MHalblaub

Ztev Konrad said...

A full criteria for the OPV isnt available yet, but back in 2014 in response to the White paper a submission was made by a Mr Lord on the then information. This helps to look at the requirements in SEA 1180 in more practical context based on some details on a Senate website.

" It is not clear how these capabilities and requirements came to be posted on the Senate web-site, or if they accurately represented Navy’s requirements at the time. However, they were signed by Chief Capability Development Group and Chief of Navy, dated 31 August 2011, and do provide a basis upon which to provide some comments and observations regarding the broad concept of a General Purpose Vessel.."

http://www.defence.gov.au/whitepaper/docs/171-lord.pdf

Peter Coates said...

Hi KQN [23/3/16 4:24AM]

As its a CEP I think its up to foreign or Aus companies to offer solutions that meet the CEP requirements. The CEP is no longer for a general purpose solution to replace 3 or 4 ship classes. Its specifically an OPV replacing the Armidal patrol boats judging by the Chief of Navy's speech (see "SOURCES").

Companies competitively offering solutions could conceivably be Incat or Austral or foreign companies aligned with those companies etc.

A cautionary experience is that cracking of the Armidale's aluminium hull has apparently been found see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armidale-class_patrol_boat#Problems :

"In 2014, the navy reported the recurrence of hull cracking around the engine spaces, which has been attributed to a combination of design issues related to the aluminium hull, and the high tempo of operations."

It is likely a (patrol boat style) monohull is sought (not a general purpose multi-hull) and perhaps steel instead of aluminium.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub [23/3/16 6:21 AM ]

While the Gepard would be too small to take 50 extra refugees the K130 may be right - help if its steel. May be smaller than 76mm gun (as " coastal raids" unlikely) and perhaps no AS missiles - though small Hellfires ("for but no with" formula.)

http://youtu.be/hYaAc2Uuf_M is an interesting. The Visby 35kn speed would represent engine capacity way over the perhaps 22kn sought.

The OPV CEP is interesting because there are many more suppliers than the Submarine CEP.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Ztev [23/3/16 1:42 PM]

Quite a mystery that specifics for the now superseded General Purpose/Modular requirements (noted at http://www.defence.gov.au/whitepaper/docs/171-lord.pdf ) were left on the Senate website.

A bare minimum indication is at the Chief of Navy's 2015 speech http://www.navy.gov.au/media-room/publications/chief-navy-speeches-naval-warfare-officers-association : [with no talk of Tony Abbott's "corvettes" or combatants. Instead: "We will order Off Shore Patrol Vessels to progressively replace Armidale Class Patrol Boats. They will be more capable ships than our Patrol Boats, carry a helicopter and have longer range and endurance that the ACPBs."

I'd find is most interesting if Singapore's ST Marine won because of the regional alliance possibilities with Singapore.

The Singapore military are close to Australia - noting I saw a Singaporean helicopter training/exercise squadron operating in Oakey, QLD. see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/126_Squadron,_Republic_of_Singapore_Air_Force#Unit_history .

Regards

Pete

MHalblaub said...

Dear Pete,
The requirement to carry a helicopter is not a call for a small boat. This ship also needs to carry the helicopter maintanence crew.

Maybe even something bigger than the K130:
https://www.thyssenkrupp-marinesystems.com/en/blohmvoss-class-meko(R)-a100-corvette.html

Aluminium is a no go for any real warship!
The Falklands War showed that even a small disfunctional missile can cause a catastrophic fire.

I can imagine that ST Marine offers a license build of the ship mentioned above.

Regards,
MHalblaub

Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub [23/3/16 7:24 PM]

Yes. There may be size creep as the manning/space implications of piloting and servicing a helicopter are realised. How autonomous the helicopter is (or whether a UAV can do the job(s) no winch-rescue) may be compromises made.

Still, the emphasis on mainly coast guard like "patrol" rather than combat may mean that many of the combat sensors/electronics and missiles aren't included in the OPV or the helicopter.

The need to accomomodate (say) 50 refugees rather than weapon systems is reasonable given the types of jobs the Armidales have faced. Hence https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armidale-class_patrol_boat "The high operational tempo from the Operation Resolute and Operation Sovereign Borders border protection and asylum seeker interception operations"

Probably stopping at 90 meters (may be a limit) short of https://www.thyssenkrupp-marinesystems.com/en/blohmvoss-class-meko(R)-a100-corvette.html 98 meters.

Probably in the RAN, DoD and wider government there are various factions pushing "combat" vs "civilian patrol". Anticipating and getting the balance is the art.

Regards

Pete

Nicky K.D Chaleunphone said...

Hi Pete,
What would you say if the Australians brought the US Coast Guard's National Security Cutter aka Legend class cutters. It would be one boat that can replace the Armidale class Patrol boat. It would give them the capability for Combat capability and even peacetime presence Capability. HII has also pitched the HII NSC patrol frigate and you can see this in the vid as well https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OJZ8eB_mPA

Also the US Coast Guard is working on replacing the 270 and 210 WMEC's aka OPV's. The one design the are looking at is the Holland class OPV or even the Spain's Buque de Acción Marítima.

Nicky K.D Chaleunphone said...

Hi Pete,
Here's Spec's on the US Coast Guard's Legend class Cutters

Name: Legend-class National Security Cutter
Builders: Ingalls Shipbuilding
Preceded by: Hamilton class
Cost: $684m(average), $735m(FY13 ship)
In service: 2008–
Building: 3
Planned: 8
Completed: 5
Active: 5
General characteristics
Type: United States Coast Guard Cutter
Displacement: 4,500 long tons (4,600 t)
Length: 418 feet (127 m)
Beam: 54 feet (16 m)
Draft: 22.5 feet (6.9 m)
Propulsion:
Combined diesel and gas
2 × 7,400 kW (9,900 hp) MTU 20V 1163 diesels
1 × 22 MW (30,000 hp) LM2500 gas turbine engine
Speed: Over 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph)
Range: 12,000 nautical miles (22,000 km; 14,000 mi)
Complement: 113 (14 officers + 99 enlisted)
Sensors and processing systems:
EADS 3D TRS-16 Air Search Radar
SPQ-9B Fire Control Radar
AN/SPS-73 Surface Search Radar
AN/SLQ-32
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare System
2 SRBOC/ 2 x NULKA countermeasures chaff/rapid decoy launcher
Armament:
1 × Bofors 57 mm gun and Gunfire Control System
1 × 20 mm Close-In Weapons System
4 × .50 caliber machine guns
2 × M240B 7.62 mm machine guns
Aircraft carried: 2 x MH-65C Dolphin MCH, or 4 x VUAV or 1 x MH-65C Dolphin MCH and 2 x VUAV
Aviation facilities: 50-by-80-foot (15 m × 24 m) flight deck, hangar for all aircraft

Here's links to the ship
http://ingalls.huntingtoningalls.com/products/nsc/index

USCG NSC program office
http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/nsc/default.asp

Here's a video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnpGyt9u3IA

Here's a Virtual Tour of the USCGC Bertholf
http://www.uscg.mil/pacarea/cgcBertholf/virtualtour/default.html

imacca said...

Read an article last week on a possible Danish contender for the New Frigate project that uses their "Stanflex" modules.

Looking at the Fearless 75 model its sort of similar config with a distinct missile deck. I wonder if they could fit that out with say 1, 4 shot Harpoon launcher and 1 Stanflex VLS module with ESSM?? Add SeaRam or a 35mm Millenium Gun as CIWS then tie it all together with a CEA radar / SAAB combat system. That would give you an OPV with serious teeth if it fits within topside weight considerations.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky [at 24/3/16 2:46 PM]

Displacing 4,500 tons the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_Cutter "Legends" are much to large for Australia's OPV needs. Hollands are a bit large and Buque de Acción Marítima just over the weight limits.

But the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medium_endurance_cutter#Famous-class_cutter like the Famous or later models come in on displacement (1,800 tons) and easily able to take helicopter. 76mm gun and 2 x 50 cal sound right.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi imacca [24/3/16 6:54 PM]

Above just 4 x small Hellfire missiles (only weighing 49 kg each) heavier missiles for the Aussie OPVs may be excessive. They wouldn't want to start a shooting war by trying to hit (patrol boats up to frigates) over the horizon.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

PS imacca

The https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rheinmetall_Oerlikon_Millennium_Gun you metioned looks interesting - especially the ease of retrofitting

"The Millennium gun is easy to install as it requires no through deck penetration and needs no supply of coolant, air or ship's power to operate. However, it does need a power supply to recharge its batteries. Installation can take as little as sixty minutes and requires only six square metres of deck space. A Millennium gun and 252 rounds weighs 3,200 kg."

Something to place on OPVs if their is an escalations of tensions.

Regards

Pete

Nicky K.D Chaleunphone said...

Hi Pete,
That's why I have heard rumblings that Australia and New Zealand was interested in the NSC. As far as the Holland class OPV, the Royal Netherlands Navy uses them and I have rode on them. They are perfect as an OPV for their needs. Even the NSC is on par with the Holland class OPV. That's why I thin for Australia, if they wanted something that has room for combat capability and the capability to carry an over the Horizon boat, the NSC is the way to go. The other option is the Israel's SA'AR 5 corvettes or even the Patrulleros de Zona Marítima that Chile and Columbia uses. I have even heard that Columbia even deployed one of their Patrulleros de Zona Marítima to the Anti Piracy mission. Even the Danish have the Knud Rasmussen-class patrol vessel, which is a Stanflex ship. Even New Zealand has the Protector-class offshore patrol vessel, which would be another option.

Even the US Coast Guard's Famous Cutter class, which I did tours on. They are well suited for Australia's missions. Though they are getting replaced with the newer, yet to be designed OPV's. They are expected to carry on until 2030. I hear they are looking at several designs to replace them and I heard the Philippines are going to be inline to get the Famous cutter class in 2030.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

The 4,600 tonne Frigate sized NSC https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_Cutter is off the charts I caution. Australia wants patrol vessels below 2,000 tonnes.

The Danish https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knud_Rasmussen-class_patrol_vessel may have lots of potential, modern 2008, small guns. A major need would be the makers showing proof that they could adequately tropicalize/air condition them for mainly tropical careers and with crew + 50 asylum seekers aboard.

Regards

Pete

Nicky K.D Chaleunphone said...

Hi Pete,
That's why the NSC was built with capability to carry migrants and has built in room for combat capability, should the need arise. Even the Holland class OPV has built in room to hold migrants as well. That's something Australia should consider as well.

Nicky K.D Chaleunphone said...

Hi Pete,
The USCG builds big ships because it has to be able to work with the US Navy in times of war and in times of peace, has to stay on station. A typical NSC deploy for 60 to 90 days at a time. The 270's and 210's normally go out for the max 60 days. The alternative to the NSC is the Holland class OPV or even the Gowind class Corvette is another option. Even France's French patrol vessel L'Adroit is another option that has the capability to be upgunned.

Though in my opinion and experience in the USCG, I would say Australia would need something on the level of the River-class patrol vessel, The Buque de Acción Marítima (BAM) from Spain, the Protector-class offshore patrol vessel from New Zealand or even the Patrulleros de Zona Marítima that Chile/Columbia uses. The downside to the Knud Rasmussen-class patrol vessel is that they operate in a similar fashion to the 210 Reliance class cutters and don't have a hangar but a landing pad. Though they have a good working relationship with spain, they should make a deal on the Buque de Acción Marítima.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky [27/3/16 3:48 AM]

The Adroit patrol vessel has very clean lines, and ticks may boxes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_patrol_vessel_L%27Adroit

I'm wondering why only one or two have been built.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Peter. Navy shouldn't be doing this work anyway. We need a u.s model coast guard. Austal builds Ali crayboats. That's what the armidales are. Steel monohull only way to go. Neither side of politics has the balls to take the toys from navy and border force, and commission a proper coast guard with remit to not only protect the continent but serve the maritime communities and industries. Kim Beasley was the last to try. The new patrol boat build will need to produce vessels capable of working in our Antarctic waters. Unless we want to continue subcontracting the job to sea shepherd. Regards.

Nicky K.D Chaleunphone said...

HI Pete,
I think Frances, French patrol vessel L'Adroit is an experiment, which I think France may build to replace their older patrol boats. Don't get me wrong, Australia needs something like the US Coast Guard to free up the Navy. As for Boats, the need something like the French patrol vessel L'Adroit or Spain's Buque de Acción Marítima (BAM).

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

Thanks for the Adroit and BAM info.

The Australian Border Force * with its Cape Class patrol boats ** is our equivalent of the US Coast Guard.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Border_Force

** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape-class_patrol_boat

As befits Australia's small-medium power status all our vessels are, on average, smaller than US vessels.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous [at 27/3/16 11:19PM]

Thanks for your views.

Regards

Pete

Nicky K.D Chaleunphone said...

What I think Australia needs is a patrol boat that is good for protecting their home waters but if need be, be fitted for war. That's how the USCG is set up in that in the event of war the USCG's task is Naval escort and merchant escort.

ONeil Padilla said...

Hi Pete,
I remember well when they were picking the new boat to replace the Fremantle Class, I find it ironic that they had the chance to get the Flyvefisken Class but went with Austral.
I think a bigger version of the Flyvefisken Class would easily cover
All the 3 classes were trying to cover now, would provide wonderful flexibility and teeth to the Navy if we need to back up the Frigates in times of crisis.
Don't know how the 'layer of fiberglass either side of a core of PVC cell foam' will hold up in the tropics though.
Its got great range & speed in such a compact design.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flyvefisken-class_patrol_vessel

Peter Coates said...

Hi ONiel

A quadruple size 1,500 tonne https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flyvefisken-class_patrol_vessel with a steel hull and capable of taking helicopter and with far less armament (just 25mm auto cannon and 2 x 50 cal) might do nicely.

Regards

Pete