Autonomous APAC24 set for OPV trials

by Richard Scott

NavyX's Pacific 24 USV pictured at launch in early June 2020. (BAE Systems)

The UK Royal Navy (RN) is planning to trial an Autonomous Pacific 24 (APAC24) rigid inflatable boat from a Batch 1 River-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV).

Developed by BAE Systems and operated by the RN's NavyX autonomy and lethality accelerator, the APAC24 is an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) testbed being used to support investigations of how a USV based on a standard sea boat could deliver force protection and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. The APAC24 is an adaptation of the standard 7.5 m Pacific 24 Mk 4 sea boat deployed across the RN surface fleet.

According to the RN, it is planned to run trials of the APAC24 from a Batch 1 River-class OPV at an unspecified date in 2022. In support of the trial, the Navy Command Headquarters on 6 October issued an invitation to tender (ITT) for the purchase of a launch and recovery system to be fitted to the host vessel.


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Maintenance data helps US Navy guarantee LCS operational availability

by Michael Fabey

USS Charleston (LCS 18) transits the Philippine Sea during routine operations for Destroyer Squadron 7. (US Navy)

The US Navy (USN) is using data analytics to “find and target” specific areas and systems that have previously caused Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs) to lose operational availability, according to Captain Tom Ogden, commodore of Destroyer Squadron 7 in Singapore.

“With the same amount of time committed to doing maintenance, we've increased the operational availability of the LCS in the Pacific, higher than we've ever seen it,” Capt Ogden said during an 18 October media roundtable briefing. “That's a data point we're looking at.”

He noted some of the analytics performed on LCS water jets as an example.

LCSs have a great deal of redundancy designed into the vessels, he said. “We have four independent water jets. The ships only need one of them to operate [but] you want to have all four.”


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Netherlands replaces or upgrades FRISCs

by Nicholas Fiorenza

The Netherlands plans to upgrade its FRISCs or replace them with Future Fast Interceptors. (Dutch Ministry of Defence)

The Netherlands is replacing or upgrading its 50 fast raiding, interception and special forces craft (FRISCs), Defence Minister Henk Kamp told the Dutch parliament on 25 October.

The boats are scheduled to reach the end of their service lives in 2024, which will be extended by 10 years for the ones that are upgraded, the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on its website the same day. Other FRISCs are to be replaced by 13 longer range Future Fast Interceptors (FFIs).

In addition, the possibility of using hybrid engines is being examined. To reduce physical stress on the boats' crews and passengers, the upgraded FRISCs will be equipped with better shock-absorbing seats and the FFIs with shock impact sensors. The FFI will also be equipped with a vessel-mounted camera and high-speed navigation system.

The FFIs will be able to carry up to 12 passengers, compared with eight for existing FRISCs, and will have more space for equipment.


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Australia to base second Supply-class oiler in Western Australia

by Ridzwan Rahmat

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) will base its second Supply-class replenishment vessel HMAS Stalwart (A304) with Fleet Base West's HMAS Stirling in Garden Island, Western Australia, the service announced on 27 October.

The vessel, which was handed over by Spanish shipbuilder Navantia to the Australian Department of Defence in September 2021, will be commissioned in November 2021, the RAN added.

Stalwart is part of an AUD642 million (USD481 million) contract signed with Navantia in May 2016 under the Australian government's SEA 1654 Phase 3 programme.

The project seeks to replace two older oilers, the former HMAS Success, which was retired in June 2019, and HMAS Sirius, which will be decommissioned in December 2021, with a single class of replenishment vessels.

Stalwart's sister ship HMAS Supply (A195) was commissioned in April 2021. It is home ported with Fleet Base East in Sydney, New South Wales.

The Supply class has an overall length of 174 m, an overall beam of 23 m, and displaces approximately 19,500 tonnes. It has a top speed of 20 kt and a range of 11,000 km at 13 kt.


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/naval-weapons/latest/autonomous-apac24-set-for-opv-trials

The UK Royal Navy (RN) is planning to trial an Autonomous Pacific 24 (APAC24) rigid inflatable boat ...

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