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Thread: New Austral Proposal

  1. #1
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    New Austral Proposal

    With the recent success of Austral as a ship builder (gaining contracts in the middle east for patrol boats and sea lift ships, not to mention the LCS contract with the USN), Austral have now released a new concept and this one keeps up the spirit of Austral's designs.







    The Multi Role Corvette (MRC) is basically a mini LCS aimed at affordability and flexability. It can carry an organic air componant,

    has davits for two RHIB's

    and can also carry MOST of the Australian Army's vechiules (can not take M-1A-1 Tanks or varients thereof)







    and when not being used as a cargo hold, the Mission bay can hold all sorts of other equipment such as; mines for mine laying, mine warfare equipment and even torpedos for anti submarine service.

    Armourment consists of 1x 25mm Bushmaster up front and 4x .50cals (two either side of the hanger door amid ship and two aft in little pontoons either side of the aft door, just below the flight deck).



    Personally I feel that this is somewhat lacking in a corvette sized vessel, I mean they could have included a 76mm Oto and VLS at least, perhaps a couple of Harpoons as well. With a crew of 76 (max/ mission including helo).

    The height above water is also a concern,

    Like a few vessels these day, there is far more above water than there is below, there are two advantages of this design though; 1. being a Trimaran the weight is spread out evenly over the supports thus top weight can be increased to a degree and 2. they have added another weight saving measure buy buildint the hull out of Aluminimum thus there is basically no top weigth to speak of really.

    The disadvantages of this metal in the design is that it offers lkittle to no resistance to any sort of weapons fire. This is also a reason there are no missiles aboard (the booster flame would melt a hole in the deck).

    My personal call is that this vessel would make a great Customs boat or perhaps even a good Coast Guard vessel but as for a serious navy vessel, perhaps in a low threat area maybe but not in a main stream, front line force.
    Last edited by Ja Worsley; 2nd July 2006 at 13:54.
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  2. #2
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    very nice

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    Question would be, is this really a corvette???? In the past, Corvettes generally seemed to have had two strong points, being ASW and ASuW, ASW and AAW or ASuW and AAW, this one doesn't seem to have any of it and seems to be just a Fast Troop Transport, much like the Malaysian Sri things you've shown us (with of course the difference that this one is much larger). I can hardly find any good point on this vessel certainly as it can only be used in waters with NO threat whatsoever... Aluminium is not the best of materials for any naval vessel.
    For Coast Guard it could indeed be a good vessel, but then I would leave away all that transport capability and just add some real weapons (maybe in real metal containers to protect the rest of the vessel).

    That huge hole in the stern so close to the water level is indeed a concern. All the accidents with RoRo vessel in rather recent times have proven that such configurations are far from safe (so this would limit her use to small sea states).

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    Concur absolutely with everything Neptune says.

    Bet you the propulsion fits are all aimed at high endurance and modest speed outputs. This is an OPV and, novel and interesting as it is, its in a highly competetive market. I cant see for example what this vessel will offer that could compare to a Mexican Sierra Class and those vessels were not exactly hugely expensive or requiring state-of-the-art yards to license build in.

    Dont see this one as a winner really I'm afraid Ja

  5. #5
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    Whoever designed the weapons for this must have also done the Armidales. I would like to see a Corvette or OPV in the RAN, but more heavily armed than this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by d'clacy
    Whoever designed the weapons for this must have also done the Armidales. I would like to see a Corvette or OPV in the RAN, but more heavily armed than this.

    Why? Either spent just a little more on a proper frigate that has the endurance to conduct serious independent patrols or get more, cheaper patrol boats to better cover the coast. We don't need some over armed little boat that can't venture more than a few hundred miles offshore. A corvette is a very poor compromise for a nation situated as Australia is. Best hope I can see for all the corvette crazies is a few mine hunter configured LCS's in the future and some of the alternative ASuW modules held in reserve.

    Daniel

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    Guys if you read my spiel carefully you can see that I too am not overly impressed with these vessels. I agree with Neptune about the Corvettes being strong in two areas of warfare, certainly all the Corvettes I have sdee have had this as a rule of thumb (Best example would be the RSN's Victory class:



    This contraption I would say was developed by a designers child playing with their Lego blocks. Yes the person who included the weapons did also cover the Armidale's weapons fit as well. If I were looking at buying covettes for the RAN, these would be umong the last I'd consider!
    It's a good thing you are short, that way you don't have to live up to a high IQ!

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    The Victories are appallingly top heavy, in any sort of slop they roll worse than a Adams class DDG.

    I watched one making very uncomfortable way during a Kakadu exercise some years back, I was on a Fremantle, and while not exactly comfortable we were rolling and pitching far less than they were and making the same speed.

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    This is an interesting design, and given what many navies actually do (as compared to what some staff officers might aspire to do...) is an excellent proposal. For Policing the EEZ, law enforcement and anti-piracy, some support of ground operations and general patrol duties the weapons fit is probably adequate with space to upgrade and it should offer good operating costs meaning navies might be able to afford to actually keep the things at sea on station. Most of these super corvettes are actually being used in OPV style roles, don't actually need most of their weapons for the duties they perform and are hugely expensive considering their utilisation.

  10. #10
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    Though it would make a lot more sense spelled the other way, the company is actually called Austal is it not?

    They are supposed to have offered a new build multi-hulled fast vessel for patrol duties recently as a quick fix solution .. is it feasible to get this new corvette design into play for this or more likely something based on a commercially derived catamaran design?

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    This is an interesting design, and given what many navies actually do (as compared to what some staff officers might aspire to do...) is an excellent proposal. For Policing the EEZ, law enforcement and anti-piracy, some support of ground operations and general patrol duties the weapons fit is probably adequate with space to upgrade and it should offer good operating costs meaning navies might be able to afford to actually keep the things at sea on station. Most of these super corvettes are actually being used in OPV style roles, don't actually need most of their weapons for the duties they perform and are hugely expensive considering their utilisation.
    Do you know how Piracy has evolved nowadays? This thing can't handle pirate weapons anymore, a bunch of RPGs, Kalashnikovs and other weapons will turn this thing into cheese well before they can use that silly gun onboard. I'd rather opt for some heavier weapons. Pirates in one boat is another dream, they often come in seven or more boats, too many to be handled by the helo alone. Those guys are fighting for their lives, they know they can get death penalty and if they have to sink that silly aluminium thing to survive, they will most likely do so.
    If they would at least make the thing of metal, it would already help in those roles. (or just give it some armour.)
    I'd also at least put a Bofors 40mm (or even better an OTO 76mm) on it, even if it is just for the looks. Pirates aren't that stupid, they know how to distinguish what they can and can't take.

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    I'm fully aware of modern piracy and have experience of it at the wrong end. Pirates may have small arms, they may have RPG's, but seldom anything more, and modern full on warships are seldom armoured, and why would you need Harpoon, Exocet MM40, VLS SAM capability, ASW torpedos etc. or any of the other fancy weapons of some of the super corvettes to combat piracy? Most pirate gangs run at the first sign of professional naval units, and whilst a 76mm OTO might be useful, very few pirate gangs will take on a helicopter or a naval vessel, and you don't need Harpoon or Excocet to sink a small boat with an outboard engine or converted fishing boat. Most piracy is crime of opportunity and deterrence is an effective weapon.

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    Okay, from the posts so far, we can work out what changes need to be made:

    Gun - probably something a bit larger, at least 35mm (Millenium gun) or 57mm
    SSM - a few Harpoon missiles, and perhaps a Netfires box or two
    SAM - some RAM missiles, and perhaps an ESSM system, preferably quad-packed in Mk41s
    ASW - ability to carry a couple of torpedoes, and perhaps a lightweight sonar

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    Quote Originally Posted by EdLaw
    Okay, from the posts so far, we can work out what changes need to be made:

    Gun - probably something a bit larger, at least 35mm (Millenium gun) or 57mm
    SSM - a few Harpoon missiles, and perhaps a Netfires box or two
    SAM - some RAM missiles, and perhaps an ESSM system, preferably quad-packed in Mk41s
    ASW - ability to carry a couple of torpedoes, and perhaps a lightweight sonar
    If you're gonna fit ASM and SAM capability, you'll need the radar and combat management equipment to make it effective, it'll cost a lot and the ship will grow in size and cost substantially, which will take the design far beyond what it is intended to be. There is a huge problem in most modern navies with rising costs and a lack of economical to build and operate Coastguard/Police type vessels.

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    I was thinking more in terms of a lightweight radar, nothing too advanced, perhaps even a simple Sea-RAM system (which uses the Phalanx units radar), and a small surveillance radar. Longer range targetting would probably have to come from a UAV, but that is not a bad thing. The basic problem is this - navies do not want ultra-cheap patrol craft (not very military), and coast guards are often low funding priorities, so cannot afford new ship like this one.

    The niche this vessel is supposed to fill must be defined, and baby-LCS is probably not a bad option, and the most basic step would be to fit Netfires and Sea-RAM, at least giving some level of offensive/defensive capability. Add in something like the Bluefin-21, and you have at least some mine hunting capability (okay, not much, but some).

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    If you're gonna fit ASM and SAM capability, you'll need the radar and combat management equipment to make it effective, it'll cost a lot and the ship will grow in size and cost substantially, which will take the design far beyond what it is intended to be. There is a huge problem in most modern navies with rising costs and a lack of economical to build and operate Coastguard/Police type vessels.
    Correct on that one, Harpoon is indeed overkill, but some Poliphem or just some anti-tank missiles would do just fine. There has once been the idea to use some Sa'ar 5 craft outfitted with Polyphem wire-guided missiles and Phalanx for US Coast Guard.
    I thought that wasn't a bad idea at all (be it a bit expensive, but of course it's US).
    I'd opt for Phalanx as a self-defence, it's ok to counter small surface craft too.
    So all in all it would look like this:
    -57 or 76mm gun
    -Anti-tank missiles
    -Phalanx.

    Nothing too complicated nor overly expensive and still strong enough to take on smugglers, pirates and fishing boats.

    btw, they aren't that scared of helicopters, once a Chinese fisherman threw a broom in a Helix's propellor, making it crash nearby. With an RPG and the idea of survival they might try to take it out after all.

    I'm fully aware of modern piracy and have experience of it at the wrong end.
    Which end is the wrong one for you???

    Most pirate gangs run at the first sign of professional naval units, and whilst a 76mm OTO might be useful, very few pirate gangs will take on a helicopter or a naval vessel, and you don't need Harpoon or Excocet to sink a small boat with an outboard engine or converted fishing boat.
    That is not 100% true. It depends what you call a "naval vessel", Pirates now depend a LOT on land support, they have people everywhere telling them what ships are in which condition etc. If they know this silly thing is coming after them, they'd probably not consider it a naval vessel and know what their chances would be against this. Of course most of them will indeed try to run, as they always do when you sound the alarm, but some of them are really hard headed (3 or 4 boarding attempts happened in more than one occasion).
    Last edited by Neptune; 4th July 2006 at 08:19.

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    I was on an oil rig boarded in Nigerian waters in 1999 (I think), not a very pleasant experience, they were just thugs with machetes, but still scary. Over the years I've taken a keen interest in the piracy problem, and when I was doing superintendency got all the commerical intelligence reports and assessments, the government reports plus the usual IMO and insurance society guidance, and on the whole the overwhelming majority of piracy is not well armed large gangs but small bands of thugs with small boats, and the large majority of them do everything they can to avoid contact with any sort of law enforcement agency, it is not just a question of whether they can take on a small OPV but also the knowledge that they are very much aware of the consequences if they try and destroy a Police, Coastguard or Naval vessel, they know full well that a frigate or destroyer would be on station with revenge on it's mind. Pirates tend to be into piracy as it's relatively safe and easy for them, ratchet up the inconvenience and threat of capture and there are other avenues for these people to practice their avarice, let's face it the vast majority of piracy attacks get little more than a few of the crews personal effects and some petty cash from the masters safe, hardly like robbing fort knox. In the Caribbean the drug smugglers are very well organised and heavily armed and RFA tankers often chase them down with the help of embarked RN helicopters.
    About these ships, in most countries there is a very real need for economical Coastguard/Police type vessels for patrolling the EEZ etc. and they need a cheap to buy, cheap to operate vessel with decent sea keeping and enough clout to chase thieving fishing boats, smugglers etc. Not glamorous, not exotic and unlikely to make any great reputations but needed and required to fill an important role all the same. For decades the RN has operated OPV's with little more than a token armament, and USCG cutters aren't that heavily armed.

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    Nigerian pirates are indeed not so well armed and naval forces are mostly not in the area. That is also the reason why everyone is avoiding their terminals (I think they have 1 LNG terminal and some oil terminals). Same counts for Somalia, where there is no Navy except for US and NATO navies. Although there they do have RPGs as proven by the two or three RPGs that were fired against a cruise vessel this year.
    In Malacca the story is different. They are well armed, and some even operate with helicopters from ships themselves (state support???). Last year they even fired a rocket against a tanker when they had difficulties to board. Piracy is a true occupation there, after the Tsunami they seemed to have been washed away, but it only took them a few months to recover. Everytime I pass that Strait, I see those messages of stolen tugs and crew put overboard etc. I don't think they steal them because I'm coming, so that must happen quite a few times... In Malacca it's quite ok to have what the Singapore Navy is using, true FACs (and most of the time they don't carry their Harpoons).
    And you don't need hummer trucks to patrol your EEZ, so getting rid of that deck/replace it with more usefull things, would be a good option.

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    Even around the Indonesian archipelago most piracy is bands of opportunists looking for easy targets who avoid law enforcement if at all possible. I spent years out there off Indonesia and East Timor managing semi-subs and organising supply boats, anchor handlers etc. and although we had big problems with piracy we never had anything that the presence of a patrol boat didn't stop. And I've seen the internal company reports on the problems in the region (the company I worked for was one of the worlds biggest ship operators, one of the few that you could say is well known outside shipping circles) and their reports wanted OPV's and coastguard vessels, not battleships.

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    Maersk?

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    they have added another weight saving measure buy buildint the hull out of Aluminimum thus there is basically no top weigth to speak of really.

    The disadvantages of this metal in the design is that it offers lkittle to no resistance to any sort of weapons fire. This is also a reason there are no missiles aboard (the booster flame would melt a hole in the deck).
    Didnt USS Stark have a aluminium superstructure, it survived a direct hit by a exocet did it not?

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    An inert one yes. Well actually it didn't, the missile went straight through. Practically it doesn't protect well and the biggest problem is when it catches fire. It doesn't easily do so, but once it's getting warm enough, it does and then it's big big big trouble to get it extinguished.

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    I'd swap those Humvees for some Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neptune
    Maersk?
    Yes, well actually AP Moller, the parent of Maersk

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    I would think if you where taking chasing down pirates and actually wanted to catch them out then you wouldnt go steaming up and down the coast in anything painted grey, they would just avoid it.. even a 25mm cannon that is radar or even optically guided would make short work of several converted powerboats before that could cause any real harm. I would think that the best way to nail pirates it to obviously make urself look like a big fat target..

    Think of a medium sized yacht, the typical playtoy of millionares world wide, cruising through the malacas straight. Looking very much like a floating bank vault thats been left open. Problem for the pirates is that its not manned by stockbrokers and politicians sons but in fact it is staffed with sailors and marines (or the Aussie SAS :diablo: ), The pirates approach thinking its payday and at less than 50 meters all hell breaks loose from small arms, squad machineguns and rocket launchers... as well as air support.

    Why noone has done this before really leaves me wondering

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    Specs. for Austal MRC

    Here are the basic specs. for the Austal MRC as per their brochure.
    Length oa 72m
    Sprint speed 35knots
    Range 3000nm [This would be at a much reduced speed]
    Deadweight 250 tons
    Mission deck 499m2
    Flight deck H60
    This ship in my opinion could not take much more topweight in any form & I would think it would not carry much payload over 3000nm if the specs. for the Incat Catamaran are any thing to go by.Anyhow where would an Australian Corvette be carrying a small cargo of trucks or jeeps. But I still like the Austal & Incat inovative attempts to produce different approaches to naval vessels

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    SteveO, yes they look good don't they, if only the government would let the royal marines have a few to go in the new amphibious fleet
    Last edited by Super Nimrod; 13th July 2006 at 09:31.

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    If this proposal is looked at as a large multi-role patrol vessel for Police/Coastguard duties with a limited sealift role for minor ferrying ops then I think it is a very promising concept.

  29. #29
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    Anyhow where would an Australian Corvette be carrying a small cargo of trucks or jeeps.
    Tiddles: mate how about initial disaster relief efforts? one of these MRC's could be on station inside a couple of days with a follow up force of the LHD's and the right equipment (as opposed to the general stores shipped currently)- this would have the advantage of effiency and productivity rather than comeing back home with store left over that were not needed.

    I do see a place for these ships in any major Blue Water fleet, even to some degree a Green Water fleet, but they most definately do need something bigger on them in terms of eapon systems.
    It's a good thing you are short, that way you don't have to live up to a high IQ!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Super Nimrod
    SteveO, yes they look good don't they, if only the government would let the royal marines have a few to go in the new amphibious fleet
    They would make great (and expensive ) alternatives to the Rigid Raiders and maybe the LCVPs too. Arm them with a cannon, some missiles and a mortar and you've got a really useful asset.

    Depressingly, I doubt the MOD would get any even if they were being given away free, it seems procurement is all about having meetings rather than actually buying anything

    Carrying a few amphibious vehicles on any type of naval surface vessel is a good idea in my opinion, it would be great to see some amphibious engineer vehicles being put ashore when a warship turns up to a disaster zone. It would be fun watching a EFV chasing pirates or smugglers up the beach too :diablo:

    Info, pics and films at the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) site http://www.efv.usmc.mil/
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