Australia reviewing proposals to build new corvette-type surface combatant fleet

Luerssen's C90 design used for the Bulgarian Navy's corvette requirements. Photo c/o Luerssen.

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) was reportedly reviewing a plan to procure a new fleet of small surface combatants to provide the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) with increased combat capabilities in response to the heightened security threats in the region.

Media outlet The Australian reported that a proposal to procure between 10 to 12 corvette-type warships with anti-surface warfare (ASuW) and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities, with a proposed cost between A$5 to A$6 billion (US$3.2 to US$3.8 billion).

The plan was said to have been raised after a realisation with the Australian DoD that the Royal Australian Navy's upcoming Arufara-class offshore patrol vessels designed by Germany's Luerssen are no longer sufficient in providing security against a growing strength and reach of China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), China Coast Guard (CCG) and its Maritime Militia forces.

The introduction of new missile and torpedo-armed corvettes would provide greater firepower and combat capability to meet future threats, especially in defending Australian territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone waters, as well as sea lanes and areas of interest.

The report also mentioned that the DoD is looking at Luerssen's corvette models, which include the K130 design used on the Braunschweig-class corvette of the German Navy, and the C90 design which is used for corvettes being built for the Bulgarian Navy.

Both designs are larger than the Arufara-class OPV being built for the Royal Australian Navy, and are armed with surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, torpedoes, and multiple medium-caliber naval guns.

 A proposal to up-arm the Arufara-class with heavier weaponry was also raised as an option, although there are also plans to transfer the offshore patrol vessels to the Australian Border Force, which is equivalent to a Coast Guard force of other countries.

Should the plan gets green light, the corvettes would be built in Australia, or could be a hybrid construction project between Luerssen's shipyards in Germany and Australian.

The first corvette is expected to be completed by 2028, with additional ships produced and completed every 10 months, and are targeted to cost as low as A$500 million each, far cheaper than Australia's recent warship acquisition and construction projects.

[1] The Australian

Australia reviewing proposals to build new corvette-type surface combatant fleet Australia reviewing proposals to build new corvette-type surface combatant fleet Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on October 22, 2022 Rating: 5



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