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South Korea’s HHI launches RNZN’s future fleet support vessel

25 April 2019
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South Korean shipbuilder HHI launched the RNZN’s future fleet replenishment vessel, Aotearoa, on 24 April at the company’s dockyard in Ulsan. Source: HHI

South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) launched the Royal New Zealand Navy's (RNZN's) future fleet tanker/replenishment vessel at the company's dockyard in the southeastern coastal city of Ulsan on 24 April.

The 173 m-long auxiliary oiler replenishment (AOR) ship, which will be known as HMNZS Aotearoa once commissioned, was floated in the drydock at Ulsan in a ceremony attended by RNZN chief Rear Admiral David Proctor, among others.

Ordered for NZD493 million (USD323 million) in 2016 under New Zealand's Maritime Sustainment Capability (MSC) programme, the vessel was laid down in August 2018 and is expected to be delivered and commissioned in 2020 when it will replace fleet replenishment tanker Endeavour , which was decommissioned in December 2017.

The ship's home port will be New Plymouth in the country's western region of Taranaki.

Aotearoa , which will have twice the displacement of Endeavour and carry 30% more fuel, will be the largest vessel to be operated by the RNZN. It was designed to have a full-load displacement of 26,000 tonnes, an overall beam of 24.5 m, and a draught of 8.5 m.

The vessel will be able to carry 8,000 tonnes of diesel fuel, 1,550 tonnes of aviation fuel, and 250 tonnes of fresh water for resupply operations. It will also be capable of carrying 12 standard 20 ft containers - four of which can contain dangerous goods - and of producing 100 tonnes of fresh water each day, according to the RNZN.

Aotearoa will be capable of embarking one SH-2G(NZ) Seasprite or NH90 medium utility helicopter, and will be equipped with self-defence systems, integrated communications and bridge systems, an integrated platform management system, and two NATO-compliant replenishment-at-sea (RAS) masts.

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