Royal Australian Navy Discussions and Updates

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StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
Actually when I think about it the USN ships Mercy and Comfort are converted tankers and as it happens the RAN is just about to decommission HMAS Sirius. I wonder.
Unlikely. Mercy and Comfort had issues as converted ships. I doubt anyone will go down that route again.



The Austal hospital ship, has some merit for a force like the US. They could scatter them globally, and have a fast deploying facility in or near theatre. That is different from Australia's needs. Australia wants something that can stay in region, do medical and other humanitarian missions.

Also a new local build is going to be very attractive.
 

John Newman

The Bunker Group
The Pacific Support Vessel, what is it? What will it do? Lots of questions, very few answers, still very much ‘how long is a piece of string’ question.

Since the announcement a few years back most of the comments here appear to focus on the PSV being primarily a HADR asset.

But should it? Is that what’s really needed? One would hope the Oz Government has asked the question to the Pacific Island leaders.

When it comes to HADR, we have sufficient assets, the LHDs, Choules, and of course don’t forget the French and Kiwis can assist in that area too.

I actually think that ‘support’ to our Pacific neighbours could be focused in other ways.

I think the PSV could primarily be a training and education ship, a floating TAFE college, lots of class rooms, hospital, medical and medical training facilities, workshops for engineering, etc, etc, and yes a secondary HADR capability too.

A ship based on something like HMAS Jervis Bay I, the former MV Australian Trader:


Yes a roll on roll off vehicle deck (for HADR), that could also house numerous engineering workshops, and from the main deck up all of those class rooms that I mentioned above.

Imagine the PSV doing a regular circuit of those Pacific nations year round, providing training, education and medical facilities to enhance the quality of life of all those people, being that floating TAFE, etc.

And yes of course being able to ‘switch’ roles to HADR support when and if required.

Can we build a ship like this again? Of course we can (MV Australian Trader was built in Newcastle in the late 1960s), a ship of ‘up to’ 10,000t is more than capable of being built locally.


Anyway, I personally think a ship like that would be far more useful and practical than a ship purely focused on HADR, and a great way to wave the Aussie flag to our Pacific neighbours on a very regular basis too.

Cheers,
 

John Newman

The Bunker Group
Morrison originally said it would be built in Australia but when I look around I don't know if there is the spare capacity. That could explain why all talk of this ship seems to have gone quiet over the last 12 months or so.

The only thing I could find that even mentioned it was an article claiming Defence was contemplating an overseas build.
Troubled naval shipbuilding projects set to prompt another Defence Department shake-up - ABC News
An ABC article written by Andrew Greene? Hmmm.... yeah well....

Did you think to look on the Defence Ministers website?

From January this year:


The plan is to build the PSV (and two JSS) in Henderson WA.
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
Anyway, I personally think a ship like that would be far more useful and practical than a ship purely focused on HADR, and a great way to wave the Aussie flag to our Pacific neighbours on a very regular basis too.
I personally would rather like to see AusGov with a dedicated HADR vessel which does a regular circuit around the Pacific. I think showing the Australian flag this way, while also spending time at ports to aide locals in improving their infrastructure and providing aide would go well towards Australia building up rapport with the recipients. And if/when needed, it can then be sailed to where needed to provide the DR-portion of the role.

As someone who volunteers in HADR ops, there are virtually always humanitarian assistance needs which could be provided, without requiring a disaster that calls for relief.
 

Pusser01

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
The plan is to build the PSV (and two JSS) in Henderson WA.
There might be a plan to build the PSV/JSS's here at Henderson, but at the moment there is no way to launch them. The floating dock can only have a vessel up to 3500T transferred onto it. It is capable of lifting 10000T but there is no way of moving that vessel on/off the dock. There are plans for a drydock & an extension to the floating dock, but there aren't any contracts signed or timelines set down yet so could be a few years off. BAE's shiplift can cope with 8000T & up to 150m in length. The last ship of substantial size built at the site were the 3x ships for Stateships in 1990 by the then ASI. They were 92m in length 3200T. Cheers.
 

John Newman

The Bunker Group
There might be a plan to build the PSV/JSS's here at Henderson, but at the moment there is no way to launch them. The floating dock can only have a vessel up to 3500T transferred onto it. It is capable of lifting 10000T but there is no way of moving that vessel on/off the dock. There are plans for a drydock & an extension to the floating dock, but there aren't any contracts signed or timelines set down yet so could be a few years off. BAE's shiplift can cope with 8000T & up to 150m in length. The last ship of substantial size built at the site were the 3x ships for Stateships in 1990 by the then ASI. They were 92m in length 3200T. Cheers.
Mate, yes fully aware that the current infrastructure is lacking and requires upgrade, which I believe the WA Government has produced a document with various options for wharf extensions, transfer systems and a large dry dock.

From memory there was also supposed to be an update to the 2017 Naval Shipbuilding Plan which was due for release earlier this year (originally mentioned in last years 2020 DSU), why it hasn’t as yet, who knows?

I suspect a couple of reasons for the delay, one, the Government is focused on Covid, and two, a change of Def Min earlier this year too.

I also suspect that we will see it’s release somewhere between now and next years Federal Election which is due around mid next year.

Cheers,
 

John Newman

The Bunker Group
I personally would rather like to see AusGov with a dedicated HADR vessel which does a regular circuit around the Pacific. I think showing the Australian flag this way, while also spending time at ports to aide locals in improving their infrastructure and providing aide would go well towards Australia building up rapport with the recipients. And if/when needed, it can then be sailed to where needed to provide the DR-portion of the role.

As someone who volunteers in HADR ops, there are virtually always humanitarian assistance needs which could be provided, without requiring a disaster that calls for relief.
I think we are talking pretty much about the same thing, it just comes down to what is the primary day to day role, or focus, the ship and it’s crew will perform.

I’m always reminded of the old saying:

“If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime”.

In other words, what is the best ‘support’ we can provide on an ongoing basis to our Pacific neighbours?

My idea of support and the PSV is to help them help themselves in a wide range of practical way, doesn’t stop assisting them with infrastructure work, in fact you spend time training and then put that training into practice ashore too.

Don’t just turn up and do the work and disappear, there are better ways, train, supervise and support is more practical in my opinion.

Cheers,
 

Stampede

Well-Known Member
T68 had this UK Sales Brochure in the Army thread which also has some maritime goodies for NAVY.


Buying second-hand always has the buyer beware tag, but I can see some opportunities if the price is right.

As a stop-gap measure, till we build up our planned future fleet, the following have some interest.

HMS SCOTT
RFA ARGUS
Fort Rosalie and Fort Austin

One or some of the above may be old but will certainly add to fleet numbers and provide training and capacity for the likes of the PSS and JSS or other such platforms.

Depending on condition and price, certainly worth considering.


Remember when a Bay class presented itself when we had planned for such a ship.


Are the stars aligned?

Regards S
 

DDG38

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
As a stop-gap measure, till we build up our planned future fleet, the following have some interest.
HMS SCOTT
RFA ARGUS
Fort Rosalie and Fort Austin
Are the stars aligned?
My bet would be the RAN can do much better than 40+ year old hulls. Training and upkeep engineering wise would be a money sink and given previous 2nd hand purchase experiences I think Fleet would be very leary of going down that path again.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
T68 had this UK Sales Brochure in the Army thread which also has some maritime goodies for NAVY.


Buying second-hand always has the buyer beware tag, but I can see some opportunities if the price is right.

As a stop-gap measure, till we build up our planned future fleet, the following have some interest.

HMS SCOTT
RFA ARGUS
Fort Rosalie and Fort Austin

One or some of the above may be old but will certainly add to fleet numbers and provide training and capacity for the likes of the PSS and JSS or other such platforms.

Depending on condition and price, certainly worth considering.


Remember when a Bay class presented itself when we had planned for such a ship.


Are the stars aligned?

Regards S
They're 40 years old and the Poms will have thrashed them. Wouldn't touch them with a 40ft barge pole. They'd be a huge money sink, for what? Rust buckets that will cost a fortune to operate.
 

alexsa

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
My bet would be the RAN can do much better than 40+ year old hulls. Training and upkeep engineering wise would be a money sink and given previous 2nd hand purchase experiences I think Fleet would be very leary of going down that path again.
And they would still be a compromise. Given the budget a new build could be tailored to the intended role ..... what ever that may be. We are all guessing at this stage but it it mission is to spend a lot of time in the Pacific then its going to have to have range and carrying capacity (people and 'stuff') and the ability to deploy those things ashore.
 

spoz

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
To be fair, Scott is only 25…..but I agree with the other posters. While having good reasons to believe the Bobsy Twins were not as bad an acquisition as some others on this forum think, I wouldn’t like to see us repeat the performance.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
T68 had this UK Sales Brochure in the Army thread which also has some maritime goodies for NAVY.


Buying second-hand always has the buyer beware tag, but I can see some opportunities if the price is right.

As a stop-gap measure, till we build up our planned future fleet, the following have some interest.

HMS SCOTT
RFA ARGUS
Fort Rosalie and Fort Austin

One or some of the above may be old but will certainly add to fleet numbers and provide training and capacity for the likes of the PSS and JSS or other such platforms.

Depending on condition and price, certainly worth considering.


Remember when a Bay class presented itself when we had planned for such a ship.


Are the stars aligned?

Regards S
The Bay class was nearly new, commissioned five years before being sold to the RAN. Scott was commissioned in 1997, Argus 1981 into commercial service & 1988 (after modificaton) into the RFA, Fort Austin 1979 & Fort Rosalie 1978.
 

Mikeymike

Member
Good day folks

The use of high speed craft has been discussed before. It works for the USN requirement (noting they can manage a diversity of vessel types) but for the RAN these vessels have limitations. This relates to useable deadweight (how much they can carry) and weather limitations.

The vessels are built to (or based on) the High Speed Craft code. This allows relaxations from SOLAS on the basis the vessel operate on fixed routes (for commercial operations the vessel need to run on an approved route with the PAX versions need to be 4 hours from a port of refuge and cargo version being 8 hours from a port refuge).

This reflects the fact these vessel have operating restrictions in sea states due to the nature of their light weight construction. In bad weather things such as tunnel slam and risk of wave damage slow them down pretty quickly and increase the risk of serious damage. These things are excellent for getting a lot of troops and a small amount of equipment to a destination about 8 hours away at operational speeds (over 30knots). Operations such as movement from Japan to Korea or within the Caribbean are perfect.

They are not great at getting places that are a very long way away or where the weather is poor (such as HADR operations after a Cyclone .... the transit may be a bit choppy).

To achieve the 35 knot speed they burn prodigious amounts of fuel (which is why their usable capacity in weight is so small. This impacts range which is just 1200 nautical miles. If you travel at economic speed you will increase the range but then even a medium RO RO will provide much more uplift capacity (thousands of tonnes as opposed to 635 tonnes) at better speed with significantly greater range and do it at about 18 to 22 knots. In really poor conditions the RO-RO will get there first.

You should note that payload is based on the troops sitting in seats not full accommodation. If you wanted to added more facilities (the proposed flight II option) that is going to remove that payload very quickly. Having crew onboard long term requires full accommodation and greater stores capacity for consumables. Adding medical facilities and ship shore connector arrangements and full flight facilities will need a bigger ship such as the flight II but this will still be short ranged and sea state restricted. You get a lot more bang for buck with a medium size RO-RO vessel designed with its own ship shore connector arrangements.... particularly when you look at the range required for operations in the Pacific.

The RAN used an INCAT ferry (Commissioned as HMAS Jervis Bay) for the Timor operations to move troops. The vessel was chartered and returned as soon as the operations were completed. It needed refuelling at each end of the transit

HMAS Jervis Bay (II) | Royal Australian Navy

The fact is that while the vessel was perfect in supporting operations in Timor it was still somewhat restricted noting it was designed as a day ferry as are the Spearhead.

While these things look futuristic they are designed for a specific task ....... that cannot simply be modified to be the equivalent of a proper displacement hull with the same operating capability.
Thanks for the detail response @alexsa.

Guess we will have to wait and see for more information from government what they want out of the vessel and envision it being used.

The way it was announced I could see the benefit of a vessel that's role is to be a permanent "presence" in the pacific. The ships main role would just be a tangible representation that Australia is a pacific nation and part of the pacific family. Similar to how the UK is basing two OPVs in the Indo-Pacific region; Instead of OPVs it is a vessel designed to potter around the region providing support to different countries.

What this day-to-day support would entail I am not sure? Medical, Humanitarian Aid, Disaster relief, infrastructure development, education and training could all be part of it but probably dependent on what the Pacific nations and their populations would appreciate most.

Other question is what is this vessel and its purpose trying to achieve? Could that money be better spent? Could it be spent on creating scholarships or partnerships with Australian Universities? Could it be spent on a similar program to the Guardian class but provide a landing craft similar to what the army is currently looking at buying?
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Thanks for the detail response @alexsa.

Guess we will have to wait and see for more information from government what they want out of the vessel and envision it being used.

The way it was announced I could see the benefit of a vessel that's role is to be a permanent "presence" in the pacific. The ships main role would just be a tangible representation that Australia is a pacific nation and part of the pacific family. Similar to how the UK is basing two OPVs in the Indo-Pacific region; Instead of OPVs it is a vessel designed to potter around the region providing support to different countries.

What this day-to-day support would entail I am not sure? Medical, Humanitarian Aid, Disaster relief, infrastructure development, education and training could all be part of it but probably dependent on what the Pacific nations and their populations would appreciate most.

Other question is what is this vessel and its purpose trying to achieve? Could that money be better spent? Could it be spent on creating scholarships or partnerships with Australian Universities? Could it be spent on a similar program to the Guardian class but provide a landing craft similar to what the army is currently looking at buying?
I like @John Newman idea of a floating TAFE with a hospital included. It would teach trades and skills. They would be especially helpful during the recovery after natural disasters. The hospital can provide much needed health care and in coordination with TAFE provide nurse, midwife and paramedic training. That will do far more good than just turning up each time there is a disaster. It could have a secondary HADR role.
 

OldTex

Active Member
I actually think that ‘support’ to our Pacific neighbours could be focused in other ways.

I think the PSV could primarily be a training and education ship, a floating TAFE college, lots of class rooms, hospital, medical and medical training facilities, workshops for engineering, etc, etc, and yes a secondary HADR capability too.
................
Yes a roll on roll off vehicle deck (for HADR), that could also house numerous engineering workshops, and from the main deck up all of those class rooms that I mentioned above.

Imagine the PSV doing a regular circuit of those Pacific nations year round, providing training, education and medical facilities to enhance the quality of life of all those people, being that floating TAFE, etc.

And yes of course being able to ‘switch’ roles to HADR support when and if required.
These thoughts highlight perhaps a better way of engaging with the Pacific Island nations than has been done in the past. I have read somewhere that some of the PIF countries have suggested that they would prefer to receive vessels that would enable them to connect more frequently with their many outlying islands, as a higher priority, rather than the Guardian class patrol boats. Ultimately the GoA and the various departments involved in various nation building projects need to listen to the various Pacific Island governments rather than dictating what the 'solution' that will be provided.

As the PSS/PSV envisaged above is not a warship, then it should be able to be constructed to civilian standards and largely crewed by civilian sailors. It might even be a useful training environment for trainees and graduates of the AMC.
 

oldsig127

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
As the PSS/PSV envisaged above is not a warship, then it should be able to be constructed to civilian standards and largely crewed by civilian sailors. It might even be a useful training environment for trainees and graduates of the AMC.
And funded by Foreign Affairs, Health, and Education budgets and ring fenced from Defence.

Which makes it Off Topic

oldsig
 
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