Home' Defence Technology Review : DTR NOV 2016 Contents 25
DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY REVIEW | ISSUE 26 | NOV 2016
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OPVs to arrive very much OTS
Saab combat system
for new RAN AORs
AT A GLANCE
EW BOOST FOR ADF
New EW test and simulation
capabilities on the way
see page 26
RHEINMETALL’S AIC PLAN
Land 400 tenderer reveals local
see page 28
US ARMY LIGHT TANK
Mobile Protected Firepower project
sparks vehicle proposals
see page 32
THE DRIVE TO begin construction of
Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) for the Roy-
al Australian Navy (RAN) as soon as pos-
sible will effectively result in cookie-cutter
type ships. At least initially.
An informed Defence source told DTR
that there is virtually no scope for devia-
tion from the proven OPV designs under
consideration within the Competitive
Evaluation Process (CEP) and that what-
ever design is selected will be almost com-
pletely off-the-shelf (OTS).
On 18 April 2016 the Government an-
nounced that shipbuilders Fassmer and
Lurssen from Germany and Damen of the
Netherlands had been short-listed to refine
their OPV designs. The CEP is currently
undertaking risk reduction activities.
customised solution normally procured
by the RAN. There will be no gold plating.
Few bells and whistles.
“Minimal change is what we’re looking
for. Basically an off-the-shelf design,” the
source said to DTR.
Adherence to the proposed construc-
tion schedule, low technical risk and cost
appear to be the principle selection fac-
tors. Even typically ‘Australianised’ char-
acteristics such as range will be OTS. Un-
derstandably, the OPVs will be designed
predominantly for constabulary tasks and
patrol as per the ACPB.
Despite the prospect of an OTS OPV,
Australia’s recently declared commitment
to a rolling build approach to naval con-
struction does present the opportunity to
make modifications and incremental im-
provements to each batch of OPVs, deliv-
ering to the RAN a more capable, surviva-
ble and flexible OPV capability over time.
This is not meant to suggest that the
OPV will morph into mini-corvettes with
a dedicated warfighting focus and arma-
ment and sensor packages to match, but
rather that the RAN may seek to take
advantage of improvements in technol-
ogy and other innovations as the build
A AUD$35.9 million contract between
Saab and Spanish shipbuilder Navantia will
see the former supply an integrated combat
system for the two new auxiliary oiler re-
plenishment (AOR) ships being built for
The split-build construction plan will
see the first two OPVs built at Osborne in
Adelaide starting in early 2018. Construc-
tion of the remaining 10 will then trans-
fer to Henderson, Western Australia once
first steel for the Future Frigates is cut in
The culmination of the CEP will trigger
the release of a restricted request for ten-
Each of the OPV designs under evalua-
tion is about 80m long, of steel construc-
tion and displaces around 1,500 tonnes.
Fassmer is thought to be offering its 1,750-
1,850 tonne OPV 80 design in service with
the navies of Chile and Columbia and
ordered by Argentina. The 80.6m OPV
80 has a crew of 30 with accommodation
spaces for an additional 30 personnel and
a typical range of around 8,500nm when
cruising at 12 knots.
DTR understands the Lurssen design
under consideration is the PV 80, a version
ABOVE: One of four Darussalam-class
OPVs in service with Brunei, the first of
which was commissioned in 2011.
ABOVE: The RAN’s new 19,600 tonne
AORs will be delivered in 2020-2021
complete with a Saab integrated combat
system based on the in-service 9LV
Combat Management System. Image: Navantia
BELOW: A Fassmer OPV 80 in service with the Chilean Navy.
of which is in service with Brunei as the
Darussalam-class. The 1,500 tonne PV 80
features a large aft helicopter deck (but no
hangar) and a stern slipway for launch/re-
covery of rigid hull inflatable boats.
It is not clear which design Damen has
put forward but candidates may include
the 72m OPV 1400 or 83m OPV 1800.
Expected to generate more than 400 di-
rect jobs in Australia and with a budget of
AUD$3-4 billion, the OPV program (Sea
1180) will replace the 13 aluminium Ar-
midale-class patrol boats (ACPB).
Whilst the OPVs will be much larger
than the ACPB and feature better seakeep-
ing, greater robustness and more inherent
operational flexibility, whichever design is
selected by Australia will not be the highly
der in early 2017 and close in June of that
year, followed by an offer definition phase.
Second Pass Approval (source selection) is
scheduled for third quarter 2017.
According to Defence, the first OPV will
be delivered to the RAN in 2021.
– Ian Bostock
See also ‘Designs short-listed for Future Frigate,
OPV programs’ in the May 2016 issue of DTR.
the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
The integrated combat system will be
based on Saab’s latest 9LV Combat Man-
agement System (CMS), which is already
installed on Australia’s eight ANZAC-class
frigates and the two 27,000 tonne Canber-
ra-class amphibious assault ships.
The integrated combat system includes
procurement of combat system equipment
such as the helicopter control radar and
decoy system. Saab will also provide com-
bat system engineering services including
system design, integration and integrated
The majority of the combat system en-
gineering work will be undertaken at Saab
Australia’s facility in Adelaide, with in-
stallation and acceptance testing of equip-
ment to be completed in Spain.
Securing the integrated combat system
contract for the two Navantia-built AORs
puts Saab in a solid position to supply ver-
sions of its highly successful 9LV CMS into
the RAN’s Future Frigate and Offshore Pa-
trol Vessel programs.
– Staff Reporters
See also ‘First look at new AOR for RAN’ in the
August 2016 issue of DTR.
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