Royal New Zealand Navy Discussions and Updates

Nighthawk.NZ

Active Member
Regards the opv's anyone know the weight limit for the station currently used by the 25mm typhoon? And are there any other positions intended for weapons?
My guess is that and probably a couple of HMG's the project is already is it's in the user "requirement development & approval" and "initial concept design" phase or as the MoD call it "definition phase"

The original link to the PDF has been moved (and I will have to go looking for it again) from PACIFIC 2019 ... but I can give this link instead if it is ok with everyone :oops:. Southern Ocean Patrol Vessel Project


I have been wondering about the positioning of the RHIBS in the alcoves below the bridge. In the great southern ocean I reckon that anything in there will take a fair hammering. Maybe hydraulically operated protective doors could be added. I was thinking about the problems Canterbury (L421) had with its original ships boats alcoves.
I agree... a concept model that was made shows that the RHIB alcoves appear to have doors.
 

Lucasnz

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Without knowing the dimensions - looks top heavy (a trend for recent RNZN acquisitions - OPV / Canterbury). Personally I'd prefer the Harry De Wolfe.
 
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ngatimozart

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Without knowing the dimensions - looks top heavy (a trend for recent RNZN acquisitions - OPV / Canterbury). Personally I'd prefer the Harry De Wolfe.
Agree, I also would prefer the Harry De Wolfe. It's already in the water with a FVEY navy and a production line is up and running. We could tack an order for two onto it and it's the least riskiest option.
 
Agree, I also would prefer the Harry De Wolfe. It's already in the water with a FVEY navy and a production line is up and running. We could tack an order for two onto it and it's the least riskiest option.
If you read the NZDF presentation Nighthawk.nz linked to above, a vessel designed for Canadian Arctic waters may not be suitable for the Ross Sea
 

ngatimozart

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If you read the NZDF presentation Nighthawk.nz linked to above, a vessel designed for Canadian Arctic waters may not be suitable for the Ross Sea
I have read the presentation that Nighthawk has posted and have been following the VARD-7-100-ICE-AOPV for the last 3 or 4 years. I also know what wave hindcasts and forecasts are and how they are used. There is a significant difference between the wave climate of the Canadian Arctic waters and the Great Southern Ocean. The Ross Sea is only one part of the Great Southern Ocean and my view is that the greatest wave impact is out in the open ocean, especially in the area between 60°S and 70°S where the fetch is planetary because the prevailing westerly winds are able to encircle the planet without encountering land. So high wind velocities and big seas are the result. Also, on average, there are five low pressure systems spinning off Antarctica at any given time. It also doesn't help that the Antarctic ice sheet is ~4 km thick and that it is shaped almost like an upturned bowl, so you have high velocity katabatic winds flowing off it too.

That's without climate change even entering the equation. That has an impact as well with some glaciers and ice shelves melting at their toe under water due to warmer water finding its way past the Antarctic current and melting them from underneath. All this fresh water being add changes the haline balance so the water becomes less salty which creates problems for some species, plus as it heats up water increases in volume. Since the atmosphere obtain a significant portion of its heat energy budget from the ocean then this creates a more dynamic atmosphere as heat energy is passed from the sea through to the atmosphere via the process of evaporation. More heat in the atmosphere creates an unstable atmosphere which means storms. So as the climate heats up we will see more storms in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica and IMHO the VARD-7-100-ICE-AOP / HDW is quite capable of operating in the Great Southern Ocean.
 

chis73

Active Member
One option out of left field I would like to see considered in a serious feasibility study before they buy anything is a submarine. Given the sea conditions in the Southern Ocean that Ngati describes above, and thus the size of a useful surface vessel to cope with them (noting the Harry Dewolfe is over 6000t and the forthcoming Norwegian Jan Mayen class will be around 10,000t), I wonder how the costs and effectiveness of a simple submarine (say a larger type 209 variant) would stack up.

Advantages:
- Would it not make some sense to travel beneath the waves rather than on top of them (especially for crew effectiveness)?
- A high indiscretion rate wouldn't be a big problem, we are doing the role of a OPV (we're not trying to sneak into Vladivostok)
- smaller crew required.
- much smaller vessel can do the job (submarines are expensive to operate but I suspect it might be cheaper than running a 7000-10000t OPV)
- better at approaching suspect fishing vessels clandestinely to photograph them in the act of illegal fishing.
- can probably hook into the Australian sub training programme and fleet support (for refits, maintenance etc)
- strategically good long-term training if we need to prepare for operating in a China-dominated Western Pacific

Disadvantages:
- no helicopter (then again, the current OPVs have never used one on their Southern Ocean patrols either to my knowledge. We have sent the Canterbury and a frigate to the Sub-Antarctic islands with helos onboard). Perhaps a submarine could operate a Scan-Eagle sized floatplane for surveillance duties.
- small crew makes fielding a decent boarding party more difficult.
- little space onboard for survivors of rescued vessels (probably enough for a fishing vessel, maybe not a cruise ship).
- potentially more difficult to travel under/through sea-ice (would it be too thick?)

Doesn't need to be the world's stealthiest, or deepest diving submarine - hell, it could be painted trainer yellow and be fitted with maybe just a single torpedo tube, with the space & weight normally taken by the tubes and torpedo reloads repurposed to support long-range patrols (better accommodations, extra fuel, stores etc).

The only nation I know that have done this (used a submarine for fisheries patrol in the Antarctic) are the South Africans (and maybe only once - link). But, I still think it should be put up as an option (and I believe the costs would be pretty comparable).
 
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Nighthawk.NZ

Active Member
One option out of left field I would like to see considered in a serious feasibility study before they buy anything is a submarine. Given the sea conditions in the Southern Ocean that Ngati describes above, and thus the size of a useful surface vessel to cope with them (noting the Harry Dewolfe is over 6000t and the forthcoming Norwegian Jan Mayen class will be around 10,000t), I wonder how the costs and effectiveness of a simple submarine (say a larger type 209 variant) would stack up.
o_O:oops: The SOPV will be doing more than fishery patrols... from supplying various DoC outposts and research stations, Search & Rescue, Fishery Patrols, Border EEZ patrols, as well as doing various surveying patrols and studies. A lot of it will logistics over the shore in austere environments.

A submarine wouldn't meet many of the requirements already set out...
 
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spoz

The Bunker Group
It would be an interesting challenge to do visit and inspect from a submarine in the sub Antarctic area. As well, a submarine is particularly vulnerable to the sea when diving or surfacing; again, possibly an issue in those waters. You would need something pretty competent to successfully operate down there; an Attack would probably be a minimum and an SSN would probably be better. Plus, there might be a bit of a problem with the non militarisation aspects of the treaty. And, NZ has no infrastructure to support submarines - is both complex and expensive to acquire and operate.
 

Nighthawk.NZ

Active Member
And, NZ has no infrastructure to support submarines - is both complex and expensive to acquire and operate.
And we have absolutely no experience with submarines other than trying to hunt and sink them from the air and surface ;-) ... It would take years to build the infrastructure and then train viable and experienced crews... If you went down that path, ultimately you wouldn't want just one... at least a couple... but again probably a minimum of 3 preferably 4 to account for maintenance periods and ... and all of a sudden becomes expensive.

The difference with the SOPV for example when it is in a maintenance period one of the other OPV's can still patrol 80%-90% of what the SOPV can do so not so much a gap in coverage of patrols etc.

Remember to patrol properly you have boarding parties that need to quickly get the RHIBs in the water to board the fishing vessel. Bugger doing that from a submarine high sea states... and what type of boat would the submarine use for their boarding party??? By the time they get any boat up from the lower deck inflate it attach outboard... the fishing vessel has buggered off... lol

Non-militarisation of Antarctica is in a treaty signed by several nations ... however, I am unsure if it includes the actual southern ocean

Submarines were looked at back in the 80's and it was put on the table as an option, but ultimately and realistically they are too limited in their role compared to a general-purpose frigate and were expensive. Though I believe today not so much comparatively as many other nations can build them.

On saying all that it would be nice to have a few in the fleet to help ward off any threat... but that is more than a pipe dream lol
 

DDG38

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The only nation I know that have done this (used a submarine for fisheries patrol in the Antarctic) are the South Africans (and maybe only once - link). But, I still think it should be put up as an option (and I believe the costs would be pretty comparable).
The fact you can find only 1 country to have attempted this, and that was 12 years ago should answer your question as to "why not" ? Submarines on the surface, especially when doing personnel transfers etc need to fairly low sea state to conduct such evolutions. You won't get that in the Southern Ocean. Nice thought bubble, but nope. ;)
 

ngatimozart

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@chis73 Sorry old boy you are out on your own with this. There is no way a submarine would meet the criteria for a SOPV. The current government would have an absolute hissy fit. The loonies on the far left would claim that it would be a SSN & SSBN all rolled into one. The last time the RNZN had any sub crew was during WW2 and they could be counted on one hand. A SSK would be horribly expensive to own and operate as a one off anyway.

A ship specifically designed for the conditions will be fine down there. That's where something like the Harry De Wolfe will come into its own. What would be a problem is if the Treasury and Cabinet try to do it on the cheap, which they do have a history of; HMNZS Charles Upham, the IPCs and the MRV Canterbury (L421) spring to mind.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
It would be an interesting challenge to do visit and inspect from a submarine in the sub Antarctic area. As well, a submarine is particularly vulnerable to the sea when diving or surfacing; again, possibly an issue in those waters. You would need something pretty competent to successfully operate down there; an Attack would probably be a minimum and an SSN would probably be better. Plus, there might be a bit of a problem with the non militarisation aspects of the treaty. And, NZ has no infrastructure to support submarines - is both complex and expensive to acquire and operate.

One interestingly wrinkle in cold waters is the effects of icing - a submarine on the surface has lower stability limits and any icing can shift the metacentric height of the vessel to the point where submerging again after a period of time on the surface can be tricky and result in a capsize.

It's a non-starter for all sorts of other reasons of course but that's one more obscure one :)
 

Nighthawk.NZ

Active Member
A ship specifically designed for the conditions will be fine down there. That's where something like the Harry De Wolfe will come into its own. What would be a problem is if the Treasury and Cabinet try to do it on the cheap, which they do have a history of; HMNZS Charles Upham, the IPCs and the MRV Canterbury (L421) spring to mind.
According to the DCP-2019 the budget for the SOPV is $300-600 million ... on the outside chance the full 600 million is used that is more than the entire Project Protector Budget... and more than HMNZS which was $495 million Aotearoa (even the lower side of 300 million is getting up there)

But of course, that is if future governments agree to keep with the $20 billion plan ... (so far 2 successive governments have hopefully a third and fourth will)
 
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alexsa

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One option out of left field I would like to see considered in a serious feasibility study before they buy anything is a submarine. Given the sea conditions in the Southern Ocean that Ngati describes above, and thus the size of a useful surface vessel to cope with them (noting the Harry Dewolfe is over 6000t and the forthcoming Norwegian Jan Mayen class will be around 10,000t), I wonder how the costs and effectiveness of a simple submarine (say a larger type 209 variant) would stack up.

Advantages:
- Would it not make some sense to travel beneath the waves rather than on top of them (especially for crew effectiveness)?
- A high indiscretion rate wouldn't be a big problem, we are doing the role of a OPV (we're not trying to sneak into Vladivostok)
- smaller crew required.
- much smaller vessel can do the job (submarines are expensive to operate but I suspect it might be cheaper than running a 7000-10000t OPV)
- better at approaching suspect fishing vessels clandestinely to photograph them in the act of illegal fishing.
- can probably hook into the Australian sub training programme and fleet support (for refits, maintenance etc)
- strategically good long-term training if we need to prepare for operating in a China-dominated Western Pacific

Disadvantages:
- no helicopter (then again, the current OPVs have never used one on their Southern Ocean patrols either to my knowledge. We have sent the Canterbury and a frigate to the Sub-Antarctic islands with helos onboard). Perhaps a submarine could operate a Scan-Eagle sized floatplane for surveillance duties.
- small crew makes fielding a decent boarding party more difficult.
- little space onboard for survivors of rescued vessels (probably enough for a fishing vessel, maybe not a cruise ship).
- potentially more difficult to travel under/through sea-ice (would it be too thick?)

Doesn't need to be the world's stealthiest, or deepest diving submarine - hell, it could be painted trainer yellow and be fitted with maybe just a single torpedo tube, with the space & weight normally taken by the tubes and torpedo reloads repurposed to support long-range patrols (better accommodations, extra fuel, stores etc).

The only nation I know that have done this (used a submarine for fisheries patrol in the Antarctic) are the South Africans (and maybe only once - link). But, I still think it should be put up as an option (and I believe the costs would be pretty comparable).
Good day Chris

As you can see the general view is this is not a good idea ... and I agree but for a more important reason. The ability of a submarine to operate in such waters will depend on its ability to charge its battery (singular or plural). Normally the boat will charge when dived using an induction mast. This is not a lot of fun in heaving seas when the induction flap valve keeps tripping and the crew suffer the joys of a rapid pressure change. In strong seas the vessel is still rolling at Periscope depth (trust me on this) and getting the charge done is .......... challenging! It can be done and is done but some time requires the boat to be on the surface ................ this is even less fun as the boat will roll like a pig (a small 209 would be really horrible) and the chaps in the fin are going to be very frozen and wet.... not to mention the joy of having to have the conning tower hatch shut and having to lock in and out of the tower to get to the bridge.

Submarine can do this and manage such conditions .... but being based in such conditions for weeks at a time is not a great idea. Added to this, when you are rolling your backside off at periscope depth in a heaving sea the efficiency of your sensors is going to suffer. If you are in ice and trying to charge submerged then there is also the risk of clobbering you masts .... again not helpful.

Ice area are treated very carefully by submarines. The SSN's and SSBN's have an advantage here as they can stay down. The Attack Class with it large power storage (anticipated in any case) would also be capable but I doubt they would stay 'in patrol' in ice infested water for weeks .... which is essentially what you are suggesting.
 

Nighthawk.NZ

Active Member
Make it three and replace both existing OPV's with one common platform.
In The DCP-2019 the budget for the SOPV is $300-600 million in service by 2027 and replacement of the current OPV's by 2032 and budget $600m–$1b

indicative dates:
Industry engagement commences – 2020
Request for tender – 2022
Introduction into Service – 2027
indicative capital cost: From $300–$600m

Offshore patrol Vessel Replacement

indicative dates:

Industry engagement commences – 2024
Request for tender – 2027
Introduction into Service – 2032
indicative capital cost: From $600m–$1b

So it is possible with a break in between builds...
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Make it three and replace both existing OPV's with one common platform.
If we had plenty of money I'd go with three, but realistically we would get two maximum. The VARD 7-100-ICE-AOPV is a subvariant of the VARD 7-100-OPV, so the platforms are similar. However the two OPV & two IPV currently in service could be replaced by four VARD 7-100-OPV or VARD 7-110-OPV. That way we would retain patrol vessel numbers of six in toto, and we would have greater capability than we currently possess. I would prefer it if we were able to acquire a 3rd SOPV and a 5th replacement OPV because I believe our Naval Patrol Force is somewhat underwhelming. Considering that we probably will be required to deploy at least one OPV / IPV in the Pacific Islands on a semi permanent basis, we need to have the boats to allow for that, which we don't at the moment because of continual under resourcing by recent NZ governments.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
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In The DCP-2019 the budget for the SOPV is $300-600 million in service by 2027 and replacement of the current OPV's by 2032 and budget $600m–$1b

indicative dates:
Industry engagement commences – 2020
Request for tender – 2022
Introduction into Service – 2027
indicative capital cost: From $300–$600m

Offshore patrol Vessel Replacement

indicative dates:

Industry engagement commences – 2024
Request for tender – 2027
Introduction into Service – 2032
indicative capital cost: From $600m–$1b

So it is possible with a break in between builds...
That timetable has been stretched because the current government wants to spread the costs out over a longer period. They've done this with quite a bit of defence spending, kicking the can down the road because they see it as a luxury rather than a necessity. It is also not a priority in their thinking yet they expect their policies to be enacted / enforced by Defence regardless of whether Defence is adequately resourced or not.

Both the 2018 Defence Policy Statement and the 2019 DCP state that the government sees the Antarctic as an area of interest and wants the capability for more surveillance and monitoring in the region, plus added capability to contribute to the Joint Logistics Support Group for the Antarctic. NZ hasn't pulled its weight in that area in recent times with the US having to pickup the slack due to NZ's inability to honour its commitment. However, the B757-200 Combi replacement has also been put back three years to 2028, that just illustrates the priority that the current government gives to anything defence related.
 
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Gibbo

Active Member
That timetable has been stretched because the current government wants to spread the costs out over a longer period. They've done this with quite a bit of defence spending, kicking the can down the road because they see it as a luxury rather than a necessity. It is also not a priority in their thinking yet they expect their policies to be enacted / enforced by Defence regardless of whether Defence is adequately resourced or not.

Both the 2018 Defence Policy Statement and the 2019 DCP state that the government sees the Antarctic as an area of interest and wants the capability for more surveillance and monitoring in the region, plus added capability to contribute to the Joint Logistics Support Group for the Antarctic. NZ hasn't pulled its weight in that area in recent times with the US having to pickup the slack due to NZ's inability to honour its commitment. However, the B757-200 Combi replacement has also been put back three years to 2028, that just illustrates the priority that the current government gives to anything defence related.

Hate to say it but if you follow this link you'll see why no NZ Govt of any colour is going to throw much $$$ at the NZDF over the next 10-15 years!


I'd expect as yet uncommitted projects on the $20Bn plan will be cancelled, deferred, or dumbed right down... we shouldn't kid ourselves otherwise. :mad: I'd also say that as it seems increasingly likely NZFirst will be in Govt after the election, COVID will unashamedly be the catalyst to rip up the $20Bn plan. The recent disclosures around China's 'activities' will have diddly-squat impact.
 
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