Home' Defence Technology Review : DTR NOV 2015 Contents 25
DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY REVIEW | ISSUE 15 | NOV 2015
A NUMBER OF international shipbuild-
ers chose the Pacific 2015 naval show held
in Sydney during early October to show-
case their potential candidate solutions to
meet the Royal Australian Nav y’s (RAN)
requirement for a fleet of large offshore
patrol vessels (OPV).
The number of OPVs to be sought un-
der Project Sea 1180 is yet to be confirmed,
although 10, possibly up to 12 seems to
be a figure put forward most often by in-
dustry and analysts. As is often the case
in major Australian Defence Force equip-
ment acquisitions, responding bid teams
themselves may be asked to determine the
final number of vessels based on rates of
availability, generated patrol days per year,
crew ing requirements etc.
At least seven yards with OPVs cur-
rently building or with proven designs
ready to roll were in attendance, includ-
ing BAE Systems (UK/Australia), Damen
(Netherlands), DCNS (France), Fincant-
ieri (Italy), Navantia (Spain), ST Marine
(Singapore) and ThyssenKrupp Marine
Systems (TKMS; Germany). Austal is also
expected to participate in the program in
some capacity, potentially offering an in-
house OPV design or building to a proven
All yards are biding their time until
a firm set of requirements for the OPV
emerges. In fact, no requirements or even
broad statements about what operations
the RAN wants the OPVs to participate in
and the subsequent mission sets have been
Such lack of clarity does nothing to as-
sist prospective participating yards about
the suitability of their OPV designs, nor
does it allow solid business cases to be es-
tablished that would underpin Sea 1180
bids and local industry teaming arrange-
ments to enable construction in Australia.
Nevertheless, the following tabled data
is a summary of potential OPV designs
Crystal ball on Sea 1180 designs
The Spanish Navy’s Avante 3000-class/BAM OPV is a
proven and highly modular design at the upper end of the
size and displacement scale for Sea 1180.
Image: Spanish Navy
which may be put forward for Sea 1180 by
the yards listed above at this point in the
pre-competitive evaluation process (CEP)
Without doubt other candidate OPV
designs will surface in the months ahead
as industry learns more of the require-
ments and begins serious discussions with
potential teaming partners.
– Ian Bostock
Damen is just one of a multitude of shipyards that have late-generation
OPV designs thought to be broadly suitable for the RAN’s OPV needs
(OPV 1800 Sea Axe design shown). Image: Damen
Design: River-class Batch 2
May well leverage off the runs already on the board
with the larger and enhanced River-class Batch 2
OPV soon to enter service with the Royal Navy (RN),
the first of which is scheduled for delivery in 2017
under a AUD$750 million contract.
Will no doubt bid for Sea 1180 as a prime contractor.
- 2,000 tonnes
- 24 knots
- 30mm main armament
- 70 crew (34 lean)
Steel monohull with 20m long flight deck sized to take Merlin medium
helicopter or six 20ft ISO containers with 16 tonne capacity crane for
No hangar in design for RN.
Cabin space for 35 additional troops/personnel.
Will be globally deployable and capable of ocean patrol and in support
of counter-terrorism, counter-piracy and anti-smuggling operations in the
United Kingdom’s exclusive economic zone and offshore territories.
Status: Three vessels in service with Brazil as the Amazonas-class corvette (commissioned June 2012 to June 2013) and one with
Thailand (commissioned in August 2013). Three currently under construction for the RN, with the last to commission in 2018.
Design: MRV 80 or other
The Western Australia-based yard has several ave-
nues of approach for Sea 1180, among them being
a version of their existing Multi-Role Vessel 80 (MRV)
concept, a new and larger in-house design leveraging
off the experience of designing and building the RAN’s
Armidale-class and Australian Border Force Cape-
class patrol boats or local construction of an OPV to a
proven foreign design.
- 300 tonne deadweight
- 35 knots
- 46 crew
Aluminium trimaran that couples high speed with improved seakeeping.
Flight deck and hangar sized for MRH90, with 450m2 roll-on/roll-off
mission/logistics deck accessed via stern folding ramp.
Reconfigurable and highly flexible design, open architecture systems
network and systems packaged mission modules are able to cater for
a very wide spectrum of missions including patrol, search and rescue
(SAR), light sealift, hydrographic survey and humanitarian and disaster
Status: Austal has for some time been building vessels around the expected size of the Sea 1180 OPVs – the 72m Omani High Speed
Support Vessel for instance – and larger and may seek to exploit its flexible seaframe concept.
The company is also increasingly positioning itself as a global defence prime contractor with an ability to manage complex design and
Austal has also made it clear that it is not limited to building aluminium vessels alone, and has, indeed, submitted a bid for the Pacific Patrol
Boat Replacement project centred around a 39m design of steel construction.
11 OPV DESIGNS
11 OPV DESIGNS
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