Page 92 - Australian Defence Magazine Dec 2018 - Jan 2019
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Osborne North on the outskirts of Ad- elaide. The yard will be owned by the Com- monwealth at part of the national naval shipbuilding infrastructure.
Future Frigate
The projected high-end antisubmarine war- fare capabilities of the 6,900-tonne GCS proved instrumental in beating its Italian and Spanish rivals to provide Australia’s next generation of future surface combatants, stated then-Defence Minister Marise Payne.
However, the top-tier requirements for the Future Frigate role had been progres- sively extended to also include anti-air and anti-ship missile defence capabilities close to those of the RAN’s three 7,000-tonne Hobart class Air Warfare Destroyers.
An Advanced Work Arrangement (AMA) signed by BAE Systems Australia in October covered work on maturing the design of what will be known in Austra- lian service as the Hunter class; engineer- ing plans, personnel requirements, and the establishment of infrastructure that will enable prototyping to start in 2020. Once again, Minister Pyne confirmed in his From the Source interview this month that he ex- pects to see the head contract (that will also see the transfer of ASC Shipbuilding over to BAE) signed before Christmas 2018.
The Commonwealth is expected to retain a sovereign stake through which it will resume ownership once Hunter-class construction is completed there, of an entity capable of inde- pendently undertaking the design and con- struction of naval warships into the future.
Meanwhile in late November HMAS Arunta became the first of the Anzac class to complete the type’s mid-life capabil- ity assurance program (AMCAP) under Project Sea 1448 Phase 4B. AMCAP work began in September on HMAS Anzac and HMAS Perth, and all eight Anzac vessels will have been upgraded by 2023.
The AMCAP scope of work includes im- provements to engines, propulsion, and the ventilation and sewage systems, upgrades to torpedo self-defence and to the Nulka active missile decoy system, a new com- munications suite including Link 22, and replacement of the Raytheon SPS-49(V)8 long range air surveillance radar with the CEAFAR2-1 phased array air-search radar.
In January the Commonwealth signed a contract with German shipbuilder Luers- sen for the delivery of 12 1,761-tonne off- shore patrol vessels (OPVs) to replace the
(L-R) WA Senator Linda Reynolds; Australian Chief of Defence Force General Angus Campbell; Australian Minister for Defence Industry Steven Ciobo; CEO Austal David Singleton; Papua New Guinea Minister for Defence Solan Mirisim; Papua New Guinea Chief of Defence Force Major General Gilbert Toropo; Acting Secretary for Defence for Papua New Guinea Trevor Meauri; and Western Australian Minister for Defence Issues Paul Papalia; at the gifting ceremony of a Guardian class patrol boat to the Papua New Guinea Defence Force, held at Austal Australia Shipyard at Henderson, WA
92 | December 2018 – January 2019 |
RAN’s 13 300-tonne Armidale-class patrol boats at a total cost of around $3 billion.
Named the Arafura class in November, steel was welded the same month for the first of the two OPVs to be built by ASC at Osborne and delivered to the RAN in late 2021. Subsequent hulls are to be built by Lurssen working with engineering group Civmec at WA’s Hendersen Maritime Pre- cinct.
In addition to their primary constabulary role, each ship can accommodate up to two containerised mission packages in the aft section for secondary roles such as hydro- graphic surveys and mine countermeasures.
In April Spanish shipbuilder Navantia began work on the second of two dou- ble-hulled auxiliary oiler replenishment (AOR) vessels which will replace the RAN replenishment ships Success and Sirius at a cost of $642 million (including initial in- service support).
Scheduled for delivery in 2020 and 2021, the 19,500-tonne ships Stalwart and Sup- ply are based on the design of the Spanish Armada’s Cantabria, which deployed with the RAN in 2013 for 12 months. The first of the ships took to the water in Ferrol at the end of November.
In further construction progress, the first of 21 Guardian-class Pacific patrol boats was launched by Austal at Henderson in July, on-schedule and on-budget.
Deliveries will run until 2023 under a $305 million contract for 19 of the 39.5 metre steel-hulled vessels and associated
in-service support that was awarded in May 2016, together with a further $29.7 million contract inked in April 2018 for two addi- tional boats.
Moving to the big end of town, the RAN’s second AWD, HMAS Brisbane, was officially handed over to Defence in July 2018 and com- missioned three months later. The third AWD, Sydney, was launched in May 2018 and is slated for delivery to the RAN in March 2019.
Unusually, three months before her offi- cial handover to Navy, NUSHIP Brisbane successfully completed a series of trials with AWD first-of-class HMAS Hobart of their cooperative engagement capability (CEC) off the coast of South Australia.
The CEC system allows the real-time sharing of sensor data on air targets, in- cluding incoming enemy aircraft and cruise missiles, among CEC-equipped units. The RAN’s Hobart-class AWDs are the first warships outside the US Navy to be equipped with the CEC system.
As Minister Payne pointed out at the time “not only does this capability enable us, for the first time, to share targeting data in real time between ADF assets, it will also enable us to share it with US assets, providing new levels of interoperability within a coalition force”.
Six months later her forecast proved cor- rect when HMAS Hobart established se- cure data links with the US destroyer John Finn off the coast of Hawaii after which the two vessels shared tracking and fire control data. This marked the first time the capabil- ity was shared between two navies.

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