SEA 1444 - Armidale Class Patrol Boat
On 17 December 2003 a contract was awarded to Defence Maritime Services Pty Ltd for the Armidale class patrol boat with construction undertaken by Austal Ships at its Henderson yard near Fremantle, Western Australia. The $553m contract was for the design, construction and in service support of 12 patrol boats. During the October 2004 Federal election, the Government announced that two additional patrol boats would be purchased to conduct augmented patrols off the North-West Shelf All 14 vessels have now been delivered and commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy.
Delivery and Commissioning Dates
The Armidale Class Patrol Boats can operate in sea conditions up to sea state 5, to 1000 nautical miles offshore and be deployed for up to 42 days with an overall range of 3000 nautical miles – a 25 per cent increase over the Fremantle Class boats. They are equipped with two large seaboats for patrol, surveillance and boarding operations, more than doubling the previous capacity. In addition, they are fitted with the Rafael 25mm Typhoon stabilised cannon and state of the art communications systems from CEA Technologies.
The Armidale Class Patrol Boats are home ported in Cairns and Darwin, with two Darwin-based boats forward deployed on North-West Shelf operations, and are used to better patrol and protect Australia ’s coastline. The Navy now has an improved capability to intercept and apprehend vessels suspected of illegal fishing, quarantine, customs or immigration offences.
Naming of the Armidale Class Patrol Boats
The new patrol boats’ class is named after the original HMAS Armidale, a Bathurst Class corvette, which served as an escort vessel, protecting Australian coastal and mainland to New Guinea convoys. She was sunk by enemy action on 1 December 1942 during operations off Betano, on the south coast of Timor. Of the crew of 149 only 49 survived.
The new patrol boats are named after Australian cities and towns with close links with Navy heritage. The boats are named Armidale, Larrakia, Bathurst, Albany, Pirie, Maitland, Ararat, Broome, Bundaberg, Wollongong, Childers, Launceston, Mary borough. and Glenelg.
Key Characteristics of the Armidale Class Patrol Boats
Length: 56.8 m
Displacement: 270 tonnes
Hull: Semi-displacement vee, with Seastate active ride control system (hydraulic stabiliser fins and stern trim tabs).
Propulsion: Two MTU 16V M70 2320 kW diesels driving twin screws through ZF transmissions.
Conventional welded aluminium alloy construction.
Built to a combination of commercial standards (Det Norska Veritas Rules for High Speed Light Craft) and specified Navy Maritime Materiel Requirements.
Will meet applicable international civil safety and pollution regulations.
Crewed by 21 personnel (29 bunks).
Habitability is substantially better than current Fremantle Patrol Boats.
Separate additional accommodation for up to 20.
Conduct all tasks up to the top of sea state 4 (2.5m waves).
Conduct key surveillance tasks up to sea state 5 (4m waves).
Continuous speed 25 knots in sea state 4 for 24 hours.
Range 3000 nautical miles (with a 20% fuel reserve) at 12 knots cruise speed.
Capable of being conventionally deployed for up to 42 days, or forward deployed for up to 90 days.
Surveillance - low light optical, communication direction finding and radar.
Modular, flexible CEA supplied communications suite.
Rafael Typhoon 25 mm naval stabilised deck gun and two 12.7 mm machine guns.
Two Zodiac 7.2 m waterjet seaboats.
The Armidale Class patrol Boat (Armidale Class) design is 56.8 m long overall with full load the vessel displaces 270 t.
The vessels are to be built using conventional welded aluminium alloy construction.
The Armidale Class will be classified under Det Norska Veritas (DNV) Rules for High Speed Light Craft. They are also to be certified against Navy Maritime Materiel Requirements. Navy policy is to voluntarily meet international civil safety and pollution regulations where applicable, such as using low environmental impact anti-fouling coatings for the hulls as an alternative to tributyl tin (TBT) and ensuring the pollution control equipment on the new boats complies with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) pollution emission control specifications.
The vessel is to be crewed by a complement of 21 personnel. Habitability is substantially improved compared with the current Fremantle force, for greater crew comfort and effectiveness. A separate space provides additional accommodation for up to 20 people for military and civil surveillance tasks.
Speed and Endurance
The Armidale Class boats can sustain a continuous speed of 25 knots in sea state 4 (significant wave heights up to 2.5 m) for 24 hours. It has a continuous cruising speed of 12 kts, giving her a range of 3000 nautical miles with a 20% fuel reserve. The vessels will be capable of being deployed for up to 42 days.
The Armidale Class may be operated far offshore, demanding excellent seakeeping performance to handle rough open ocean conditions. The Navy requires full operability to the top of sea state 4 (significant wave heights up to 2.5 m) and key surveillance tasks to sea state 5 (significant wave heights up to 4 m).
Seakeeping performance has been central to the evolution of the Armidale Class. The platform is 33% longer than the existing Fremantle class, while the hull is a semi-displacement vee form optimised for seakeeping. The design includes an active ride control system to reduce motions. This includes hydraulic stabiliser fins and stern trim tabs integrated in an automatic motion control system supplied by Seastate, a Western Australian company. The seakeeping performance is expected to provide a substantial increase in operability and effectiveness over the current Fremantle Class Patrol Boats.
To meet the role of peacetime patrol and law enforcement tasks, the Armidale Class will carry a package of sophisticated surveillance systems, including low light surveillance system, radars and communication direction finding system, to ensure that the crew can easily search for and track a target.
The Armidale Class is equipped with a modular, flexible communications suite. The design allows integrated use of military and commercial communications equipment and is integrated with the ship’s computer network
The internal communications system includes intercom, main broadcast, alarm control, and entertainment.
The Armidale Class is equipped with a Raphael Typhoon 25 mm naval stabilised deck gun as the primary weapon. This lightweight, modular design has an effective range of 1500 metres. The vessels also have 12.7mm machine guns mounted at the bridge wings for light defence.
The Armidale Class carries two Zodiac ZH 733 7.2 m seaboats, powered by a Volvo Penta AD41P 6 cylinder diesel driving a Hamilton HJ241 waterjet unit. The seaboats are deployed by VESTDAVIT hydraulic single arm A-frame davits.
Two independent propulsion trains will drive the Armidale Class. Prime movers are MTU 16V 4000 M70 turbocharged marine diesel engines, each developing 2320 kW maximum continuous rating at 2000 rpm. Each engine drives a ZF 7550 V reversible transmission with a 3.27:1 reduction, through a Geislinger Gesilco fibre composite membrane flexible coupling. Veem 5.5 inch shafts run through EKK Eagle seals and drive 1.45 m 5 bladed propellers.
Machinery and electrical equipment will be monitored and controlled using Austal’s comprehensive Marinelink Integrated Monitoring And Control System. Machinery spaces are to be certified to class society requirements for Unmanned Machinery Spaces, including remote monitoring by digital CCTV.
Power generation is by two MTU 6R183 TE52 generator sets, each generating up to 220 kW. The sets are mounted on isolated sub-bases and are controlled by Woodward digital governors, sychronisers and load controls.