Australia has been talking about getting new ships for sometime, but recently they announced a policy of “continuous shipbuilding” in an effort to maintain a domestic warship building capability.
While submarines and frigates have gotten most of the press, and will get most of the money, they also intend to build Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) to replace their Armidale class patrol craft, which have proven not quite up to the demanding missions they have been assigned. (They will also be building patrol boats to be distributed to Pacific island nations.)
“The construction of offshore patrol vessels to replace the Armidale class has also been moved forward to 2018.”
2018 puts them two years ahead of the Frigates, so this may be a lead in for the more sophisticated project. I suspect they will be strongly influenced in the selection of their OPV by New Zealand’s experience. due to the frequent contact and cooperation between the Australian and New Zealand Navies.
The New Zealand OPVs, HMNZS Otago and Wellington, appear to be progenitors of Eastern’s OPC proposal, so there is a good chance the Australians will be building something like the OPC. The CG should make its selection of the final OPC design about a year before Australia has to make their OPV design selection, so perhaps they could benefit from the Coast Guard’s selection process.
This seems to indicate that the Australians may be building as many as 20 OPVs that they refer to as Offshore Combatant Vessels (OCV). http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-04/navy-ships-worth-40-billion-to-be-built-in-south-australia/6671230
More information on the OCVs. sounds like may be further along than I thought. http://www.asiapacificdefencereporter.com/articles/275/SEA-1180-Four-into-one-does-go
This from the German Navy Blog Marine Forum.
“08 October, AUSTRALIA, Spanish Navantia proposes its AVANTE 1400 design (rmks: similar to offshore patrol vessels built for Venezuela) for the Australian Navy’s SEA 1180 Offshore Patrol Vessel program.”
We talked about the Venezuelan ship here: https://chuckhillscgblog.net/2011/05/24/venezuelas-new-offshore-patrol-cutter/
Baird Maritime reports “Australia’s multi-billion dollar offshore patrol vessel project has released the request for tender to the three shortlisted designers.
“The Minister for Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne, said the request for tender will see Damen, Fassmer and Luerssen team up with Australian shipbuilders.”