HMNZS Aotearoa is a Polar-class logistics support vessel built by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) for the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) as part of the Maritime Sustainment Capability (MSC) project.
It was intended to replace the ageing HMNZS Endeavour tanker that was in service with the RNZN.
The New Zealand Defence Force initially placed an order with HHI for the construction of a 24,000t-class logistics support vessel in July 2016.
HHI subcontracted Rolls-Royce to deliver a concept design for the vessel in September 2016.
The vessel was christened HMNZS Aotearoa (A12) in April 2017 and is scheduled to be delivered to the RNZN in January 2020.
The ship will be home-ported at New Plymouth.
HMZNS Aotearoa is expected to support replenishment at sea (RAS) and underway replenishment (UNREP) operations, as well as humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions.
It will also provide assistance during logistics operations in Antarctica, including the resupply of McMurdo Station and Scott Base.
HMNZS Aotearoa design and features
HMNZS Aotearoa will be the world’s first naval ship to adopt Rolls-Royce’s Environship concept design, which includes a new wave-piercing hull for reduced resistance and fuel consumption.
The vessel’s modified Environship hull will be ice-strengthened and winterised to facilitate operations in Antarctica’s extreme weather conditions.
Its propulsion system will also be optimised to meet winterisation and Polar Code 6 requirements.
The ship will have a length of 166m, beam of 24.5m and design draught of 8.5m.
It will feature a Saab TactiCall integrated communications system, two rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs) and a variety of medical facilities, including a two-berth ward and treatment room.
The replenishment ship will offer accommodation for 98 personnel, including 64 core crew members, 11 flight staff, 14 trainees, eight mission team members and a VIP passenger.
Cargo capacities of RNZN logistics ship
HMNZS Aotearoa will offer enough deck space to accommodate up to 12 containers, including four containers dedicated to storing bulk ammunition.
The liquid cargo storage tanks will enable the carriage of 8,000t of diesel fuel and 1,500t of aviation fuel.
The on-board desalination system will have the capacity to produce 100t of fresh water a day.
In addition, the ship is expected to be capable of storing up to 250t of fresh water.
The 25t main crane will be located at the centre of the vessel and feature a wider-than-average operating reach of 23m.
It will facilitate the efficient loading and off-loading of container boxes and bulk cargo.
HMNZS Aotearoa will be capable of refuelling two vessels at a time on the move, while the on-board electric replenishment / fuelling-at-sea systems will ensure easy and silent operation.
The flight deck will be situated at the vessel’s stern and will allow the operation of an NH90 helicopter.
A hangar facility will also be included for the embarked helicopter.
The forward bow deck will be equipped with a Phalanx close-in weapon system (CIWS), which will provide close-point defence against anti-ship missiles and aerial targets such as low-flying aircraft and helicopters.
HMNZS Aotearoa can also be mounted with two mini-Typhoon light weapon stations, with the first located port side and another starboard side.
HMNZS Aotearoa propulsion
The ship will be equipped with a combined diesel-electric and diesel (CODLAD) propulsion system, which will use two Bergen main engines.
Each engine will drive a controllable pitch propeller (CPP) through a reduction gearbox. The propulsion system will enable a design speed of 16k.
The four Rolls-Royce Power Systems MTU gen-sets are expected to deliver electricity to the switchboards, motors, drives, bow thruster and electric RAS / UNREP system.
The ship will also feature rotary vane steering gear and rudders supplied by Rolls-Royce.