Another Very Different Candidate for “Cutter X”

Click on photo to enlarge

The Australian Navy has had problems with their Armidale class patrol boats. These little ships, similar to the Coast Guard’s Webber Class WPCs (Fast Response Cutters), have been sent great distances to enforce Alien Migrant Interdiction Operations. They are really are not up to the task, so Australia has been planning a larger class. In addition to the fourteen Armidale patrol vessels, they hope to use the same class to also replace six Huon-class minehunter, two Leeuwin-class survey vessel, and four Paluma-class survey motor launch.

This projected class of 20 larger ships is referred to as the Offshore Combatant Vessel.

No design has been chosen yet as far as I can tell, but Austal is a local firm (with a shipyard in the US as well) that probably has an inside track. Their design referred to as a “Multi-Purpose Vessel,” is a bit unusual, but it might be appropriate to use as a USCG cutter to fill the space between the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) and the Webber class WPCs, that I have been referring to as “Cutter X.”

It looks a bit like a scaled down Independence class LCS, not surprising since the Independence class are also made by Austal. It, like the Independence design, is a trimaran hull with lots of clear helicopter operating area and a hangar, as well as a large open area under the flight deck for modular systems, or perhaps in our case transporting migrants. Looks like they could also be very useful for Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Response (HADR) Mission.

Austal 80 meter Multi-Role Vessel

Austal 80 meter Multi-Role Vessel

Click on photo to enlarge

Length overall 80 meters (262.5 feet)
Length (waterline) 78.8 meters
Beam (moulded) 21.1 meters (69.2 feet)
Depth (moulded) 6.7 meters
Hull draft 3.2 meters (10.5 feet)
Mission deck 500m2 (5382 sq.ft.)
Flight Deck area 290m2 (3122 sq.ft.)
Hangar 1 x NH-90 (a 23,370 lb gross weight helicopter) or similar
Complement 35
Crew accommodation 87 berth
Endurance 28 days
Range 4,500nm @ 12 knots
Speed (max) 26 knots
Main engines 3 x MTU 20V 4000 @ 4,300kW at 2,170 rpm Diesel engines
(Same engines used in the Webber class)
Propulsion 3 x fixed pitch propellers
Weapons and Sensors •Standard 25mm stabilized naval gun
(the artist concept actually shows a 57mm)
•4 x .50 cal general purpose machine gun mounts

Austal 80 meter Multi-Purpose Vessel

Austal 80 meter Multi-Purpose Vessel

Click on photo to enlarge

Thanks to JamesWF for reminding me of this design.

China Builds Cutter X for Nigeria

NavyRecognition Photo, Model of P18N OPV on the CSOC stand during AAD 2014
Photo credit: NavyRecognition, Model of the P18N OPV on the CSOC stand during AAD 2014. Click to enlarge.

NavyRecognition reports delivery of another cutter similar in concept to Cutter X. This time it is first of two being built in China for Nigeria.

P18N Offshore Patrol Vessels have a displacement of 1,700 tons, a length of 95 m, width of 12.2 m and beam of 3.5 m. It is powered by two MTU 20V 4000M diesel engines (I believe this is essentially the same engine as in the Webber class WPCs–Chuck). The maximum speed is 21 knots. The endurance of the vessel is 20 days at sea (range 3000 nautical miles at 14 knots) for a crew of 70 sailors.

The range and speed are certainly adequate for their purposes, but “nothing to write home about,” and the hangar is only suitable for UAVs, but it is actually better equipped in some ways than the proposed Cutter X with a 76mm gun and two 30mm. This probably contributes to the size of its 70 member crew.

Nigeria is modernizing their forces. The Nigerian Navy took over the former USCGC Chase in 2011, and they expect to get the Gallatin in 2015. Nigeria is the source of much of our imported oil, and they have an ongoing insurgency and a serious piracy problem.

If the helicopter on the model pictured above looks familiar, it is a Z-9, a Chinese license built version of the French helicopter that was the basis for the H-65. Chinese variants include both ASW and attack helicopter versions.

Philippine CG to Get an “MEC” and Four “PBs” from France


Janes360 is reporting that the Philippine Coast Guard has inked a 90M Euro ($113M) deal for the purchase of five vessels. One is to be an 82/83 meter (270 foot) aluminum hulled patrol vessel and the other four are 24 meter (79 foot) patrol boats.

NavyRecognition, reporting on OCEA participatin in the EuroNaval trade show, has some details on the OPV 270.

“OPV 270 is a 83 m (270 ft) long marine aluminum made ship. It carries 44 crew members and can take 3 to 6 VIP passengers on board, in addition to 20 ordinary passengers. 35 survivors can also be taken on board. It can travel over 4.500 to 8.000 km at 15 knots and its maximum speed, which depends of the load, can reach 26 knots. its endurance is from 30 to 45 days.”

This earlier report by DefenseStudies includes some photographs of the 24 meter patrol boat in service with the Nigerian Navy, and a short discussion of how they are expected to be used. (Incidentally the “West Philippine Sea” is the Philippine name for the South China Sea.)