Decision on new RAN frigate brought forward

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Decision on new RAN frigate brought forward

Postby MikeJames » 04 Mar 2017 01:25

Future Frigates selection set for faster course

The Australian 12:00AM March 3, 2017

Brendan Nicholson
Defence Editor
Canberra

The process of selecting the design for the Royal Australian Navy’s nine new Future Frigates will be accelerated by the federal government to save time and to ensure construction of the warships can begin in 2020.

Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne told The Australian the number of competing combat systems being considered for the frigates had been reduced to the two which were considered to be the most suitable.

That would streamline the process of selecting the best vessels, Mr Pyne said. “We won’t be wasting time assessing things we will never use.” That would give the contenders more time to focus on other aspects of their bids.

Mr Pyne said that while the plan was to announce the successful bidder for the frigate in April 2018, the government hoped to bring that forward.

“I can’t guarantee we will be able to, but that is my ambition and we are working with the Department of Defence to bring that forward to an earlier announcement date in order to give the successful bidder more time to prepare for the 2020 cut-steel date.”

The RAN uses both the Aegis and Saab combat systems in its Anzac frigates and Air Warfare Destroyers. Given the navy’s familiarity with both and their interoperability, Defence will choose one of them for the new frigates.

Mr Pyne said the process of spending $195 billion on defence over 10 years had begun. “Making sure as much as possible of that is spent in Australia is really bearing fruit.”

This had already brought thousands of new defence industry jobs, many in hi-tech areas. Work had begun on Pacific Patrol Boats in Western Australia and three companies would tender by March to build the larger Offshore Patrol Vessels. The first of the OPVs will be built in South Australia.

The detailed request for tenders to build the nine frigates would be released in March, Mr Pyne said.

The three designers short-listed for the next stage of the frigate competitive evaluation program are Italy’s Fincantieri with its FREMM Frigate; Spain’s Navantia with a redesigned version of its F100 used for the RAN’s AWDs, and Britain’s BAE Systems with the Type 26 Frigate.

Mr Pyne said the French company, DCNS, was well into the process of identifying local companies to join the supply chain for its Future Submarine project.

The submarine project was going very well with the government to government contract signed with France and the design contract with DCNS.

A building was going up in the French city of Cherbourg as the workplace for as many as 100 Australian staff who will be sent there with their families to be trained in submarine design and to manage the construction of the shipyard facilities in Australia.

French streams would be opened up at Adelaide schools for the children of about 100 French staff who had come to Australia, Mr Pyne said.

“All of the practical requirements are fitting into place.”

Work was under way designing new facilities for the Adelaide shipyard in Osborne South and the government expected to receive drafts next month. Work on the infrastructure would start in the second half of this year. DCNS was designing its submarine yard to be built at Osbourne North.

“The shed for the submarine, forgetting all the other infrastructure, will be wider, higher and longer than the Adelaide Oval stadium,” the minister said.

Those facilities would be completed by 2022 when work was to start on the submarines, he said.

Building the infrastructure would occupy a significant part of the naval shipbuilding workforce in the lead up to cutting steel for OPVs, Future Frigates and then submarines. That would help keep the workforce in place at Osborne.

“Many of the workers who are there now will be able to work on that infrastructure construction,” Mr Pyne said.

“We will go from about 1800 people now at Osborne to about 5000 by 2023, so we have a huge job to do on skills and training and the workforce.

“We will have one of the most modern and busiest shipyards in the world at Osborne South and the most modern and one of the world’s busiest submarine yards at Osborne North.”

Mr Pyne said he wanted to keep the workforce maintaining the Collins Class submarines together because it was now at world’s best practice. “We don’t want to disturb that. We regard it as a sovereign ADF capability.”

Mr Pyne said what he calls “the national defence industry project” is a nation-building exercise with vast potential.

“These are nation-building projects and that’s what we’re seeing in the national accounts.” The numbers released this week saw federal defence spending up by 34.2 per cent in the quarter. The main factors were purchases of new aircraft for the RAAF.

“Malcolm’s [Turnbull] vision, which it’s my job to implement, is for Defence to drive hi-tech advanced manufacturing,” Mr Pyne said. “These will be high-value jobs which we can compete in with anyone in the world.

“It’s hard for us to compete in the making of T-shirts but we can easily compete in making submarines and ships because they are advanced manufacturing, hi-tech, high-value and highly-skilled jobs. We have the skills here to do that.’’

Australian companies were increasingly exporting hi-tech defence equipment from training systems and rifles to armoured vehicles and naval patrol vessels, he said.

Mr Pyne will soon travel to Canada to encourage the Canadians to buy Australia’s revolutionary CEA phased array radar system for their new warships. “CEA radar is one of our great success stories.”

Another success was the Nulka decoy system to protect ships from missiles. More than $1 billion worth had been sold overseas. Nulka was widely believed to have saved a US warship off Yemen recently when it came under attack, Mr Pyne said.

“We’re getting a lot of interest from countries which want it. Australian systems are proving to be effective and the best in the world.”

Brendan Nicholson is defence editor of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s Strategist website.
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Re: Decision on new RAN frigate brought forward

Postby scott154 » 04 Mar 2017 06:17

Thank you Mike! Great read :tup:
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Re: Decision on new RAN frigate brought forward

Postby RussF172 » 04 Mar 2017 10:22

Thanks Mike. That put a few things together for me as we've been approached by ASC to do a model of an OPV but they hadn't got the design yet so it all adds up now. Once the choice is made in March we will get the design from the winner to do the model from. Couldn't figure out how they didn't have a design to do a model from if they designed it which obviously they haven't. A matter of "hurry up and wait" :)
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Re: Decision on new RAN frigate brought forward

Postby MikeJames » 04 Mar 2017 17:54

ASC will be building the first two or perhaps three of the new OPV before the rest of that build project transitions across to Austal to free up construction capability for the new frigates at ASC in Osborne.

Given the stumbling basket case that is manufacturing in South Australia, they want to avoid mass lay offs between projects.

I understand that the three designs all have their pro's and cons, Damen has it's supporters in Navy and the Defence bureaucracy, pointing to the record Damen jhas built up in building quality vessels for the offshore support world. The Lurssen design has its supporters pointing to Lurssen's record of building successful warships over decades, while others support the Fassmer 80 in service with Chile and Columbia. They point out that if Chilean and Columbian shipyards can build them then neither ASC or Austal should have any issues constructing them; this is considered important as Austal hasn't built steel hulled warships of this size.

In other news, Defence has determined that they need a new $20 million stand by / back up generator to allow work to be undertaken at ASC in the face of South Australia's crumbling power situation.
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Re: Decision on new RAN frigate brought forward

Postby MikeJames » 09 Mar 2017 12:59

Italian, Spanish Frigates Sail to Do Battle In Australia

(Source: Defense-Aerospace.com; posted Jan 23, 2017)

Image
Built by Fincantieri to the French-Italian FREMM design, Carabiniere is the fifth of the Italian Navy’s Bergamini-class frigates which, displacing 6,700 metric tonnes, are in fact destroyer-sized ships fitted out in both ASW and air-defense versions. (Italian navy photo)

PARIS --- A major naval battle is brewing Down Under, as two of Western Europe’s most modern surface combatants steam through the Indian Ocean to fight for the next prize offered by the Royal Australian Navy.

At stake is an A$35 billion order for 8 or 9 SEA Future Frigate (FF) to be built in Adelaide, South Australia, under the SEA5000 program. In addition, New Zealand might also join the program at a later stage to replace its own two ANZAC-class frigates, further adding to the stake.

The two ships are the Italian Navy’s Carabiniere (F 593), a recently-commissioned Fregata Europea Multi-Missione (FREMM), and the Spanish Navy frigate Cristobal Colon (F 105), standing in for an upgraded and redesigned version of Navantia’s Álvaro de Bazán F100-class frigate that is still on the drawing board.

Italy and Spain both hope seeing and touching their ships will help Australia decide whether to continue with its primarily Spanish-designed navy, or instead to switch to a more modern French-Italian design, for a new class of frigates which will, in fact, be as large as destroyers.

While Italy and Spain are both sending in-service ships on Australian demonstration tours, the third short-listed contender, Britain’s BAE Systems, cannot because its proposed Type 26 frigate – which it calls Global Combat Ship on the hope it will be exported to many countries -- is still in the design stage. Instead, BAE said it would “use the latest in modern digital planning capability to refine and tailor its designs” to Australian requirements, and ship “a 3-dimensional visualization suite to help improve understanding of the unique features of the ship design.”

In addition to these three competitors left standing when Australia published its short-list last April, two other bidders, DCNS of France – which also offered the FREMM deign it co-developed with Fincantieri -- and Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS), were eliminated.

The Future Frigate program’s schedule calls for selection of the winning design in 2018; first steel is due to be cut in 2020, and the first ship is expected to reach Initial Operating Capability in late 2026.

In the meantime, all three shortlisted shipyards on September 1, 2016 signed contracts with the Australian government to participate in the Competitive Evaluation Process conducted by the Department of Defence for the FF program.

Australia’s A$65 Billion Shipbuilding Plan

The Future Frigate program is just one component of Australia’s huge plan to reinforce and upgrade its naval capabilities. Australia has just completed building two large Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) amphibious ships, HMAS Adelaide and HMAS Canberra, is currently building three Air Warfare Destroyers (one is working up, one was launched in December and the third one is due to follow in XX), as well as two Cantabria-class logistic support ships, all to designs developed by Spain’s Navantia shipyards group.

Last year, Australia selected France’s DCNS shipyards as the preferred contractor to build 12 Shortfin Barracuda diesel-electric submarines in an A$50 billion program. Also in the works is a A$3 billion program to build 12 Offshore Patrol Vessels, for which Damen of the Netherlands has been short-listed in competition with two German ship designers, Fassmer and Lürsssen. In fact, given the increase in the number of ships, finding, training and retaining enough sailors to man them might well become the RAN’s major long-term headache.

Having had its fingers badly burned with the Collins-class submarines and other, over-ambitious procurement programs, the Royal Australian Navy wants its new frigates to be Military Off-The-Shelf (MOTS) designs, possibly Australianised, but has formally excluded buying a new design.

That explains the Spanish and Italian shipyards’ eagerness to sail their ships to Australia, where all stakeholders will be able to see and to touch them, in distinct contrast to BAE, whose Type 26 still only exists as computer-generated images.

Italian Navy’s F 593 Carabiniere

Carabiniere will cover about 20,000 nautical miles on her Australian demo tour, but she won’t circumnavigate the globe, as will her Spanish competitor. Carabiniere sailed from her home port of La Spezia on Dec. 20, and on Dec. 27 arrived in Jeddah, on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast, where she stayed until Jan. 1. She then sailed to Colombo, in Sri Lanka, arriving Jan. 11 for a three-day stay.

The Italian navy’s fourth FREMM frigate, Carabiniere is fitted out in ASW configuration with the latest, state-of-the-art sensors and weapons, and was commissioned in April 2015. The FREMM class of frigates was jointly developed by France (DCNS) and Italy (Fincantieri) to replace both countries’ major surface combatants.

Carabiniere is due to arrive in Fremantle, Western Australia, on Jan 25 for an initial week-long stop (Jan 25-31), continuing on to Adelaide (Feb 5-10), Sydney (Feb 14-19) and Melbourne Feb 21-24). She also will make other port calls during her cruise:
-- Jakarta (Indonesia): March 9-13;
-- Singapore: March 15-19;
-- Langkawi (Malaysia): March 20-26;
-- Karachi (Pakistan): April 5-9;
-- Muscat (Oman): April 11-15.

Subsequently, the ship will either continue her promotional cruise in the Persian Gulf, with port calls in Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, or she might deploy on anti-piracy patrol between the Horn of Africa and Pakistan; the final decision will be taken this spring.

“The aim of [our] Southeast Asia and Australia tour is to strengthen our relations with allies, build naval diplomacy and exchange the know-how of Italian manufacturing and technology,” Carabiniere’s Commanding Officer, Commander Francesco Pagnotta, said during the stopover in Jeddah.

The ship’s stopover in Malaysia is scheduled to coincide with the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2017 (March 21-25), the largest defense trade show in South East Asia.

Guido Crosetto, the head of Italian aerospace and defense industry group AIAD, told Defense News Dec 16 that Fincantieri has the advantage over its competitors. “Of the rival vessels, one is still an idea the other is a project,” he said, adding “The Australian Navy prefers the Italian offering.” Fincantieri opened an office in Canberra in mid-December.

During this marketing cruise in South East Asia and in Australia, Carabiniere will show the flag, and take part in surface patrols, cooperate with regional allies, and weave new links with other navies, according to Italian navy press releases about the event.

In addition to the navy, Carabiniere’s cruise is sponsored by Fincantieri and Italy’s main defense contractors, including Leonardo, MBDA Italia, Elettronica and Telespazio.

Spanish Navy’s F 105 Cristobal Colon

The Spanish navy describes its F105 frigate’s seven-month cruise, which will include 120 days in Australian waters, as a result of the bilateral agreement between the two navies “on the employment of ships, units and the capabilities of each signatory to support deployments, missions and activities undertaken by the other.”

In addition to demonstrating the ship’s potential, the cruise will also “highlight logistical support and maintenance mechanisms during an extended period of high activity at a great distance from national territory,” the Navy said in a Jan. 9 press release.

Image
The Spanish navy’s F 105 class of frigates has already been used as the basis of Australia’s new Air Warfare Destroyers, and shipbuilder Navantia now is offering a redesigned version as the basis for the RAN’s Future Frigates. (Spanish Navy photo)

Cristobal Colon is the fifth and final Alvaro de Bazan-class frigate. She sailed from La Coruna, her home port in north-western Spain, on January 9, and also stopped over for two days (Jan 20-21) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where Navantia is hoping to win a contract for five corvettes, and a new naval base to house them. Fincantieri and France’s DCNS are also hoping to compete for this contract.

"This deployment is another example of the Navy's support for the national defense industry. The deployment of the Cristóbal Colón frigate to Australia for 120 days will improve Navantia's position in the programs in which our national company is competing in Australia," Spanish military sources told the daily ABC, adding “And all this without incurring additional costs, or reducing the operational capabilities of our Navy.”

In Australia, the ship will take part in three major RAN exercises on Australia’s eastern and western coasts: “Ocean Explorer,” “Sea Explorer” and “Sea Raider,” during which Colon will host Australian sailors and other defense personnel to demonstrate her operational capabilities.

This is not the first time that the Spanish Navy sends its ships on marketing trips to Australia. In addition to Alvaro de Bazan, whose visit helped Navantia win the AWD contract, Spain four years ago also loaned its logistic support ship Cantabria to the RAN for nine months. This helped Navantia beat the South Korean Daewoo shipyard for a two-ship Australian contract it signed last May; the two Cantabria-class ships will be built at Ferrol, in Spain, and delivered in 2019 and 2020.

Navantia is already working to refine its FF offer, which it expects to submit in July; the winning shipyard will be announced in mid-2018, and the ships will be built in Adelaide, South Australia.

For the Future Frigate program, the Spanish company is counting on the ten-year partnership it has established with the RAN beginning in 2007, when Navantia won the contract for the two LHDs, derived from the Spanish navy’s own Juan Carlos I, and the subsequent order for the three Air Warfare Destroyers, which were preferred to competing designs from the UK and the United States.

“By its volume, relevance and international significance, Australia’s SEA 5000 Project has great implications for Navantia. It is a very demanding process which will require the greatest possible institutional support from the State,” Francisco Baron, director of Navantia Australia, told Spanish reporters late last year.

This support is primarily demonstrated by Colon’s seven-month availability for this marketing cruise. On its way to Australia, Cristobal Colon will make several stops to promote Spanish naval shipbuilding and its products.

After Jeddah, she will then continue to Bombay (India) and Singapore, both of which have shipbuilding programs in which Navantia wants to compete, and on its return leg Colon will cross the Pacific, with stop-overs in Papeete (Tahiti), Callao (Peru) and Cartagena (Colombia), thus completing its circumnavigation of the globe before returning to La Coruna in early August.

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Re: Decision on new RAN frigate brought forward

Postby rritchie71 » 09 Mar 2017 15:15

When you look at the resources Italy and particularly Spain are putting into this, it really does take "Try before you buy" to a new level.

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Re: Decision on new RAN frigate brought forward

Postby MikeJames » 10 Mar 2017 11:48

With reduced defence spending world wide, the prospect of a nine-ship buy is enough of a draw card to get them both out here.

If the Brits had something other than a paper project I'm sure they would be doing the same.

The fact that both the Spanish and Italian's have ships to bring out does rather emphasise the fact that the Type 26 isn't Military Off The Shelf (MOTS).

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