NavalToday reported on HMNZS Otago recently returned from an almost three month voyage doing Coast Guard style operations, including fisheries enforcement, in the Ross Sea, near Antarctica. Interesting they feel an obligation to do fisheries 2000 miles frim New Zealand.
HMNZS Otago is a ship similar in concept to the Offshore Patrol Cutter, being an ice strengthened medium sized (1,900 ton, 85 meter) offshore patrol vessel. The class was discussed along with a few other potential Arctic Patrol Cutters here and to a limited extent as the basis for a potential OPC design here.
Here’s a good article about OPV & Corvette development in SE Asia, eastern Indian Ocean, through the southern Pacific: http://defense-studies.blogspot.com/2013/12/corvettes-and-opvs-offshore-investments.html
It mentions these ice-strengthened NZ OPVs, but the interesting thing to me in the article is the massive expansion of this size and frigate-size vessels in this region. Chuck has covered the Philippine expansion a lot and mentioned Vietnam a little, but Malaysia and especially Vietnam’s fleet expansion is disturbing. As much as was stirred up about the East China Sea controversies, I think China’s not in for an easy takeover in the South China Sea either…
Don’t think the Chinese are that worried about the OPVs and Corvettes, but some of these countries are getting submarines, notably Vietnam is getting six subs from Russia.
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More info from the design agency: brickmuppet.mee.nu/files/nzopv.pdf
Interview with the head of New Zealand’s Navy. Some comments about their OPV at the bottom. Also covered were women afloat and frigate replacement. http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/policy-budget/leaders/interviews/2015/04/20/interview-rear-adm-jack-steer/26070851/
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Looks like they will be getting a third OPV. http://www.janes.com/article/61063/new-zealand-confirms-plans-to-acquire-third-opv-with-ice-strengthened-features
Probably same basic design. perhaps some minor improvements (just guessing).
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Another indication that New Zealand is building a third OPV and if they decide the seas in the southern ocean is too rough for their 85 meter OPVs, they may opt for something larger. Since their current ships are designed by VARD, they may consider one of the other VARD designs, including perhaps the OPC.
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