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Journal of lite Australian Naval Institute

Bell Longranger IV

One aircraft deployed at Thursday Island in the Torres Strait. Used for visual search day and night plus transport of people and equipment in the Torres Strait and Cape York Peninsula areas.

Seareh capacity: visual - 250 nautical miles track. Operating heights: 100 to 10 000

feet. Operating speed: surveillance at 110 knots.

Crew: I pilot. I observer.

Equipped with: cameras, gyro-stabilised binoculars, night vision equipment (observers only).

The Customs Marine Fleet

The Customs marine Heel provides an effective national civil surface response capability, The fleet operates around the entire Australian coastline and out to the limits of the EEZ.

Since the mid 1970s, the ACS has operated a fleet of ocean-going vessels of various types and sizes. They provide the ability to respond to actual or suspected breaches of Commonwealth laws relating to the management of the Australian coastline and offshore areas. These vessels in the current fleet range in length from 20 to 25 metres.

Responsibility for the planning, tasking and deployment of the vessels rests with a central management group, the National Marine Unit (NMU), a part of the Coastwatch branch in Canberra. Tasks are allocated to individual vessels by the

NMU bused on bids submitted from all states and territories. All bids for the strategic use of the vessels are approved through the Coastwatch planning process.

In response to the increasing demand for operations beyond the 12 nautical mile Customs jurisdiction, the current fleet will be replaced by a fleet of eight 35 metre vessels - coming into service progressively over the period 1999 to 2001.

The new vessels, to be called "Bay Class" vessels, will enhance Coastwatch's surveillance and response capabilities, enabling the current tasking levels from client agencies to be met more effectively and efficiently. The increase in the number of vessels from six to eight will increase the fleet's potential sea-going days to around 1200 per year and improve operational coverage and response times.







Crew numbers:



Technical details on the new Bay Class vessels include:

35 m




20 knots

iOOOnm at 20 knots

Up to 9

6x2 berth cabins

4 temporary berths

12 passengers on aft deck

2 x 6m Al rigid hull, segmented

non-inflatable collars

Each with 2 x 90 HP Honda

outboard motors

150 nm range at 25 knots


July/September 1998

Journal oj the Australian Naval Institute


New Zealand's Defence - in Good Shape?

In November last year, just two weeks before Australia's Strategic Policy 1997 was presented to

Parliament, New Zealand released its latest Defence White Paper Richard Jackson reports on the Kiwi

White Paper, reactions to it and the implications for the RNZN.


he 1997 Defence While Paper, titled The Shape of New Zealand's Defence', is a shocker. Not a shocker of a document, it as a well-written exposition of New Zealand's future force structure. Rather the shock lies in the detail -revelations of how hollow the NZDF had become, of how old our equipment is and of how shallow the purse is for buying future equipment. And the biggest shock - the decision to reduce the RNZN's combat force by 25 f/r.

Defence Policy Turmoil

New Zealand defence policy has been in turmoil since 1984, when the then newly elected government caused the ANZUS rift, arbitrarily scrapped the RNZN's force structure plans and proclaimed New Zealand's reliance on UN operations both as the purpose of our armed forces, and as the foundation of our defence. The first post-ANZUS White Paper was published in 1987 (ironically claiming continued adherence to the ANZUS alliance) and it focused the armed forces explicitly on the South Pacific. Implicitly, then, our armed forces could be low-tech and sealed down, since they were to be confined to an area of no military threat and low level constabulary tasks.

This focus back fired somewhat, on those wanting to neutralise (or neuter) New Zealand's armed forces - a strict South Pacific theatre of operations actually reinforced the need for self reliance, and for long range ships and aircraft and for wide area surveillance systems. Given the unchanging geography of the region, and New Zealand's specific constitutional responsibilities to the Cook Islands. Nuie and Tokelau. the 1987 White Paper had to recognise the need for modem surface combatants. As a result, the RNZN gained approval to join in the ANZAC frigate project and also built and commissioned HMNZS ENDEAVOUR (our fleet tanker) acquired HMNZS MANAWANUI (our diving support ship) and began studying the options for a military sea lift ship.

But an exclusive South Pacific focus neither reflected New Zealand's real foreign policy interests, nor provided the armed forces with the right training environment, if they were to retain any combat credibility. We still had an obligation to Singapore and Malaysia through FPDA. while our commitment to the defence of Australia (a psychological commitment

among the people as much as stated policy) implied that our forces must be able to integrate with the ADF.

If there was any doubt about the potential demands on New Zealand's armed forces, the end of the Cold War. the start of large scale UN peacekeeping operations and the Gulf War all sent clear messages. New Zealand could not confine itself to the South Pacific: at least not if it wanted its foreign policy to match its trade policy, its cultural links, its luunaiiiiarian concerns and its export drive.

The '91 Defence Policy

So the 1991 the new. conservative, government that had been elected in late 1990 commissioned Defence White Paper. That policy emphasised OUT commitment to the wider region, but it also set in a train a series of force structure reviews, designed to question the key capabilities of the Army. Navy and Air Force. Much of that I99l While Paper remains relevant, indeed the new White Paper specifically stales that the 1991 policy framework 'continues to be the most appropriate policy framework to guide our defence effort'.

But the force structure reviews led to a long period of indecision about our increasingly elderly equipment: they also sowed the seeds of renewed inlerservice rivalry for scarce capital funds. In 1994 a Defence Assessment was written (but not publicly released), which prioritised the capabilities of the NZDF. and thus led to five major equipment decisions. These were the go ahead for a replacement naval helicopter, defensive equipment for the C-130s. rewinging the P-3 Orion licet to extend the airframe lives, purchase of a merchant RoRo ship as a military sea lift ship and, a low level air defence missile for the Army.

Each of these projects is underway: the first of the replacement naval helicopters has arrived, hawker pacific of Australia are refurbishing our P-3 Orions. the C'-I30s are currently being filled with chaff and radar warning systems, while the French Mistral SAM has been delivered to the NZ Army.

But in 1996 we had our first election under the new MMP electoral system. MMP was supposed to restore some of the cheeks and balances to Parliament after years of 'dictatorial' power by the Executive lie Cabinet). The new Parliament had more panics than the previous one. and so a coalition government had to

Julx/Scptcmher 1998



Journal of the Australian IS aval Institute

be formed - the expected outcome, but unexpectedly a coalition of the centre right, the National Party and the (new) New Zealand First Party. Most pundits had forecast a coalition of the left, led by the Labour Party. For Defence, the new government meant a new defence review, and it is this process that has led to the 1997 White Paper.

The New White Paper

As I noted earlier, the new While Paper establishes continuity with the previous one. and so there are no radical insights into the region or the strategic setting. The good news of the 1997 White Paper is that New Zealand's defence spending will rise, to cover new capital equipment, an increased operating tempo and improved pay. Its main focus is the future force structure of the NZDF. and here the Paper contains a long-term projection of future capital equipment purchases.

The main features are:

a. a three-frigate combat force for the Navy, and a
commitment to the other naval capabilities of
MCM. NCS. sealift, RAS. hydrography and

b. maintenance of an air combat capability, with the
prospcel of replacing the Skyhawks in the period
201)7/2010. As well the capabilities of maritime air
patrol, air transport and tactical vertical lift are to
be maintained by electronic upgrades for the
Orions. a commitment to C-l3()Js and extending
the air frame life of the Iroquios helicopter fleet.

c. Reviving the Army's general land combat capability by enlarging the infantry battalions to four-company units (rather than the present three) and replacing the old M113 armoured personnel carriers, new reconnaissance vehicles, tactical communications and infantry weapons.

These decisions are justified in the White Paper by its discussion of the international setting and the impact on New Zealand's three security aims of:

  • defence of the nation,

  • contributing to regional security and

  • playing a part in collective global collective security efforts.

These national security requirements lead on to a discussion of the military considerations that will affect the size and shape of our armed forces. The White Paper points out that the nature of peacekeeping is changing: from truce monitors (such as UNTSO) to peace facilitators (as in Bougainville) and peace enforcers (as in Bosnia). The technological trends of the RMA are changing the capability of armed forces both in targeting, weapons effect and command and control. Armed forces of small nations must be able to contribute to the battle field picture, while also being able to exploit the information available from others.

And the size of the NZDF is further shaped by the demands of readiness, interoperability and critical mass. These issues were also explored in the 1991 While Paper, but in the 1997 version, critical mass is described as being a squadron of IS aircraft for the air


Journal of the Australian Naval Institute


combat force, two regular battalions and a brigade structure for the Army and three surface combatants for the Navy (allowing one to be continually deployed).

The Air Force

The RNZAF had of course a huge bow wave of capital equipment needs - all its current front line aircraft date from the late sixties/early seventies. So now, 30 years on the need to replace Hercules, Orions, Skyhawks and Hueys virtually all at once, was unavoidable. So the annex outlining future capital projects is heavily weighted to the modernisation of the RNZAF: air weapons and laser designators for the A-4s: the Orion upgrade; the helicopter life extension and self-protection systems and then the A-4 replacement. This is good news for the RNZAF, and it has value for the maritime scene since the Kiwi Skyhawks and Orions are maritime aircraft. But the undercurrent of interservice rivalry - that it was a case of either the frigates or Skyhawk replacements - is not welcome, and it may take some time for tensions to ease within Defence HQ.

The Army

There seems no doubt that the Army emphasised its peacekeeping role in staking its claim to more capital funds. Certainly the Army's shopping list shows they were successful; early projects to go ahead are: direct fire support weapons, anti-armour weapons, armoured vehicles (the Ml 13 replacement) tactical communications and a Landrover replacement. Again, these are not unreasonable projects, and in view of the restructuring of the Australian Army, a re-equipped NZ Army will be a welcome partner.

But Army has sought to position itself as the 'owner' of peacekeeping operations, to the extent that I have heard officers' claim that only the Army is doing a 'real' job. Yet peacekeeping is more complex and far more joint service than it was eight years ago. The UN is far more pragmatic (and reluctant) about initiating peace operations, peace enforcement - rather than peacekeeping - is now a consistent theme, while the involvement of navies - as seen in Somalia, or in support of UNPROFOR and also in Cambodia - has been consistently overlooked in Wellington.

Army's campaign was well supported by public statements from various retired officers. One. Grant Crowley, made public his vision of the NZDF as a larger Army supported by an air transport force and some auxiliary ships. He has since become one of the bigger critics of the new White Paper. And this constant public posturing on behalf of the Army has an impact on the RNZN; even when it does undertake direct UN operations with the MIF in the Gulf, these

become assessed in the public mind as somehow not as important as the single company of troops amid the (former) 40,000 strong UN force in Bosnia (for example). The recent role of CANTERBURY at Bougainville - a clear deterrent backing up the unarmed land forces - was quickly forgotten amid the images of soldiers playing in paddling pools with local children.

That of course leads to other issues of public information and building new perceptions in the public mind.


The other shock for the Navy is the delay to the conversion of the CHARLES UPHAM. the military sea lift ship. The UPHAM was bought in late 1994, a Mercandian-class North Sea Ro-Ro trader. On arrival in New Zealand she was painted grey, given some additional communications equipment and commissioned in October 1995. Then she was deployed for various trials and Army exercises. On returning from a South Pacific deployment, with virtually no cargo, she was caught in a storm and found to roll sharply, too quickly for personnel safety, while her high sides caught the wind and made her nearly unmanageable. Navy knew that to function properly as a military sea lift ship UPHAM would need extensive conversion - more water tight compartments for damaged stability (which would also provide accommodation for troops) a water ballast system and a flight deck (which like the RFA ARGUS would be built over a concrete slab thus reducing the metacentric height and hence the rate of roll). It is not that the UPHAM is unsuitable as a vehicle transport (after all a sister ship does the Wellington-Lyttelton run every week of the year) but in the long distances of the South Pacific she cannot reasonably undertake passages in the empty condition. Coincident with this experience, the RNZN was at its nadir for marine engineers, so it was convenient to lay the ship up pending conversion. Yet, although the design studies had been undertaken, UPHAM'S conversion has been delayed to 2001/02; in the interim she has decommissioned and will be charted out commercially. Presumably issues of capital funding flows, as well as RNZN personnel shortages, lead to that decision.

However, critics (like Crowley) take it as proof of 'manifestly inadequate advice' from the Navy, thus usefully giving them ammunition to undermine the RNZN's credibility. Yet the ship was a high priority for the Army back in 1994, it could be valuable to the ADF (in view of the LPA project and the ADF's new emphasis in amphibious capabilities) while it would also be a major deep draft command opportunity within the RNZN.

July/September 1998



Jnurnul of the Australian Naval Institute

The Navy

But the White Paper does concede that money has to be spent on the Navy. The White paper lists the following naval capital projects:

  • Kauri Point ammunition storage upgrade

  • bridge training simulator

  • evolved Seasparrow, towed array sonar and torpedo modifications (ie a semi-WlP for our Anzac frigates)

  • a fifth maritime helicopter in 2003

  • a remote minehunting system

  • provision for the Anzacs' midlife upgrade, and

  • a third surface combatant by 2006

On the face of it, this may seem a good list. In fact it is just sufficient to keep the Navy ticking over by upgrading the Anzac's weapons, ensuring there is attrition aircraft available to the helicopter force, continuing the development of our MCM capability and providing for two key pieces of infrastructure. Yet the inclusion of funds for a third frigate has already attracted adverse political comment.

Australia was disappointed in the NZ Defence White Paper, and Canberra has said so, both in the text of Australia's own Strategic Review (released two weeks after the NZ White Paper) and in discussions during the annual defence talks in early 1998. In particular the down sizing of the RNZN and the lack of commitment to another modem frigate has drawn particular pressure from Australian officials. Yet, due to New Zealanders' weak public opinion towards defence, NZ politicians will not be motivated to do much more, despite the Australian reaction.

third modern frigate can be delivered. In the meantime. MONOWAl paid off in April and TUI has already gone out of service; both are being replaced by RESOLUTION (the newly acquired ex-American T-AGOS), with a consequential valuable saving in complements.

The Navy's training staff at HMNZS TAMAKI are seeking innovative ways to increase shore training effectiveness and the NZDF's personnel policy people are under pressure to improve naval conditions of service, while a pay rise is promised for July 98. All these initiatives are intended to improve our retention and rebuild the core of trained sailors and officers we so desperately need.

And the Sea Sprite program is on track, the first SH-2F is now' flying and the Wasps have been retired (after 32 years' service!). The SH-2Fs are our interim helicopter, pending the delivery of G-model Seasprites in 201)0. in conjunction with the RAN project.

So it is not all gloomy for the RNZN. The service is determined that its individual ships will be credible, both in terms of w eapons and sensors, and in terms of well trained ships" companies. I am confident that after the shock of the 1997 White Paper we can resume our place among the navies of the region. Back in Wellington Naval Staff will have some lough battles to fight to get a third Anzac frigate ordered (some forecast that the third frigale should be ordered later this year). But 1 hope the Staff doesn't lose sight of making the case for a four-frigate fleet. Yet in the meantime the RNZN will have to look inwards, concentrating on training and on its people - they remain the greatest single factor.

The way ahead

So what is the way ahead for the RNZN, after the 1997 White Paper? The Chief of Naval Staff has made it clear in one of his 'WADS' (With All Dispatch; a new widely distribuied rapidly disseminated personal memo format from CNS to the fleet as a whole) that the RNZN's priority now has to be training. HMNZS WELLINGTON has been dedicated to the sea training role even though she is fresh out of refit and re-equipped with Phalanx C1WS and other new equipment. Bui the fleet has to reduce to meet the government's new- policy of a ihree frigate force: WAIKATO is to pay off in July 98: WELLINGTON will pay off as TE MANA is delivered.
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