The Government of Australia is acquiring a class of two new Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment (AOR) vessels under Phase 3 of SEA 1654 programme, to provide maritime support capability to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
The aim of the Phase 3 of SEA 1654 project is to replace the RAN’s existing replenishment ships HMAS Success and HMAS Sirius.
The new replenishment oilers will be built by Spanish shipbuilding company, Navantia, based on the Spanish Navy’s SPS Cantabria auxiliary-oiler replenishment ship.
The vessels are intended to carry fuel, dry cargo, water, food, ammunition, equipment and spare parts to provide operational support for the deployed naval or combat forces operating far from the port on the high seas for longer periods.
In addition to replenishment, the vessels can be used to combat against environmental pollution at sea, provide logistics support for the armed forces, and to support humanitarian operations and relief operations following a natural disaster.
AOR vessel development details
Navantia and the Defence Materiel Organisation of Australia signed a contract in October 2014 to conduct risk reduction design study on the auxiliary replenishment vessels.
A contract worth $640m was awarded by the Commonwealth of Australia to Navantia for the construction and delivery of two AOR vessels in May 2016. The company also agreed to provide maintenance and support services for the two ships for a period of five years.
MAN Diesel & Turbo received an order from Navantia in March 2017 to supply main engine and generator sets for the vessels. The first shipset is scheduled to be delivered in December 2017, while the second shipset is planned for delivery in June 2018.
OSI Maritime Systems executed a contract with Navantia in October 2016 to deliver two integrated bridge systems (IBS) for integration on the AOR vessels.
Design and features of RAN’s new AOR ships
The RAN’s future replenishment oilers will be built with double hull design in compliance with the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) requirement.
Each vessel will have an overall length of 173.9m, length between perpendiculars of 162m, displacement of approximately 19,500t, and full-load deadweight of 9,800t. Its design draught and beams will be 8m and 23m respectively.
The vessel can accommodate up to 122 personnel including crew. The operators are seated in an enclosed integrated bridge located in the forward portion of the ship.
The ship will have a flight deck at stern to support the operation of a single helicopter.
The new logistics support vessels will be equipped with fuel tanks, refuelling gantries and dry cargo holds to refuel and resupply multiple vessels simultaneously.
Each vessel will have the ability to hold 1,450m³ of JP-5 jet fuel, 8,200m³ of marine diesel fuel, 140m³ of fresh water and 270t of ammunition, and can supply 470t of provisions.
Up to four fuel stations will be fitted on port and starboard sides of the vessel to transfer fuel to other ships. A single station will be provided at the aft to refuel ships with marine diesel fuel. The ship will receive JPS fuel and fresh water through two stations each.
Additionally, the ship will have four diesel fuel reception stations.
Sensors onboard RAN’s future AOR logistics vessels
The RAN’s new fleet support tankers will be equipped with a range of sensors such as identification, friend or foe (IFF), radar electronic support measures (ESM), FLIR thermal imaging camera, LINK 11 tactical data link, DGPS/GPS; gyrocompass, echo sounder, and speed log.
A Maritime Command and Control Information System (MCCIS) will be installed to provide situational awareness for the operators.
The propulsion system of each AOR vessel consists of two dour-stroke, in-line MAN 18V 32/40 main engines and four MAN 7L21/31 IMO Tier II marine generating sets.
Each engine develops an output power of 9,000kW at speed ranging between 720rpm and 750rpm. The power generating capacity of each generating set is 1,500kW at 1,000rpm.
Performance of AOR ships
The auxiliary oiler replenishment ships will have a maximum speed of 20kt. The vessels will be able to conduct underway replenishment to a distance of up to 6,000nm when travelling at a speed of 13kt.