The new Australian government’s posture on defence has not been good news for the country’s ship building industry. Having strongly indicated the navy’s next-fleet of submarines is likely to be Japanese, the new aviation training ship for the Royal Australian Navy is to be built at a foreign shipyard amid claims that Australian industry could not come up with a viable tender.
The 2,400-tonne vessel will be constructed at Damen’s Song Cam shipyard in Hai Phong City, Vietnam to a design which is based on the Dutch company’s OPV 2400 platform. When delivered in 2017, the vessel will be leased by the navy from Serco-owned contractors DMS Maritime and crewedby civilians.
In addition to its primary Helicopter Aircrew Training System role for both navy and army Seahawk and MRH-90 helicopter types, the multi-function vessel will also be used for junior officer sea training, mine warfare training and torpedo recovery. With accommodation for 60 people, it will largely sail in east coast waters from its base in Sydney.