Can you recall the contentious debate the NZ public had about the ANZAC frigates purchase back in the late 80s? ...then the Lange government had to draw-back on its initial purchase intentions. Will the NZ public express similar reservations in the next few years when the course for Frigate replacement again resurfaces (submarine pun not intended)?
Given the escalating defense spend that has been going on in the Asia region over this decade, and recently the 'ramp-up' being reported in Europe, I found this blog was interesting about NZ's defense capability.
It was published in July - around when the NZ government announced the additional spend ($500m). The proposition comes at the end, where A.Davies suggests that because NZ's spend is admirably modest, he asks whether buying (second-hand) Australia's upgraded ANZAC frigates when the ADF gets around to replacing theirs with new Frigates would be plausible?
So would buying AU's ANZAC frigates - at that time - represent value for money to the NZ tax-payer and our Defense Force or would it just be an expediency for AU and the ADF?
Don't think buying Aussie 2nd hand ANZACs would be good value for money considering the NZ frigates are in far better condition eg new main engines TB93 , new upgraded HVAC new control and monitoring system where the Aussie are still operating the older original TB83s engines and older C and M system HVAC etc. Buying 2nd hand Aussie ships would require an expensive upgrade to bring the ships platform systems up to standard.
Once the NZ frigates have the self defence upgrade in Canada new radars , sensors, weapon systems etc they will be highly capable.
Cost and technology issues are more a function of the decision to develop a unique design or partner with another country and Australianise an extant or new shared design. Its arguable which would be 'better' in that regard, particualry given operational needs and support costs over the 20 or so years the boats will be in service.
The article reports the Soryu-class as "the world's best non-nuclear" ...mm more spin? They said the same about the Kilo class last decade and look what happen with them in India. Thankfully NZ cant afford to compete in this game.
Be nice though if NZ (can only afford 2) could get our hands on a couple of decent danish vessels like the Absalon-class. www.casr.ca/id-danish-naval-projects-absalon.htm A little heavier than our current frigates but they double also as command and support vessels, and danes build them to patrol the Arctic waters and for mine clearing. Canadians call them Destroyers but everywhere else I've read about them they are referred to as Frigates ...must be a tonnage thing?
The political environment is substantially different. I don't think there will be the same extreme level of controversy.
The project to replace the Leander frigates was conceived in the 1983 Defence White Paper. Kuznetsov was still in charge in the Soviet Union and the Fourth Labour Government (and the anti-nuclear policy) hadn't happened yet. In 1985 the government held an inquiry in to the direction defence policy should take in the post-nuclear free NZ environment. That inquiry was dominated by activist groups. One of those groups, "Just Defence," had strong ties to the left wing of the Labour Party.
By 1987 Labour was doing its best to improve the relationship with Australia, which had suffered a serious setback as a consequence of the anti-nuclear policy. The Anzac project was seen as vital to restoring that relationship. It was about that time that 'credible minimum' began to appear in speeches and policy documents. The Quigley Report acknowledged the importance of project to NZ-AU relations.
Between 1988-89 there was strong criticism of the Navy's structure from many sectors, including from a former RNZN Lt Cmdr, who argued that NZ's fleet wasn't adequately structured to meet immediate tangible needs (rather than war-like contingencies). That Lt Cmdr was the Controller of Fisheries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries at the time.
In 1989 Labour MP Harry Duynhoven focused on an alternative OPV concept, and began to agitate for it amongst the Labour Caucus. By the end of that year, the NZ Labour Party President, Ruth Dyson, was forcefully reminding members of the Labour Caucus that the Labour Party had opposed the project at its party conference. Two days later, Prime Minster Geoffrey Palmer announced a contract to purchase two ships, with an option for two more. Palmer didn't last long. By the time Mike Moore became PM (and Labour Leader) there was serious doubt about whether or not the project would continue. Cancellation was being talking about. The left wing of the Labour Party packed up and formed New Labour (later the main part of the Alliance Party), and took most of the anti-Western Alliance, anti-defence activists with it.
Most of the controversy around the project was as much about Labour's factional politics playing out as anything else. The perception from some quarters that the project was about trying to restore the ANZUS (and potentially challenging the anti-nuclear status)was also a major factor.
The Inquiry in to Defence Beyond 2000 is also crucial to understanding the parliamentary politics of defence spending. When that committee report was produced, a consensus had emerged between Labour and National that there was a need to reduce politicisation of defence policy. That report resulted in broad priorities been agreed between senior Labour figures, and the more progressive faction of the National caucus. It wasn't supported by Max Bradford, but by that time it was clear he wouldn't be around to see National in government again. the National back bench was just as shocked as the Labour Opposition were when Bradford carried the F-16 deal through at the expense of the less-controversial third Anzac frigate.
Labour used that report as the basis for its defence spending when in government. Those priorities were broadly followed by National when it came to power in 2008.
Last Edit: Jan 20, 2015 17:17:43 GMT 12 by frankly
That last post got a bit more into Beltway issues than I had intended.
As well as all that, the factors below are also very good reasons why the decision won't be as controversial.
1) There aren't wholesale redundancies, school and hospital closures, user-pays policy and long lines of unemployed. The economic situation, and the public's tolerance for 'luxury' spending is much better than it was.
2) The protest movement isn't as strong as it was in the late 1980s. There aren't the large scale protests like Bastion Point, Aramoana smelter, anti-nuclear, anti-springbok, etc. The 'Peace Movement' is substantially weaker - the threat of a rogue terrorist shooting is nowhere near as high in the public consciousness as the threat of being dragged into a war that could go nuclear was.
3) The Navy is seen to be doing more of the 'essential' (fisheries, disaster relief, etc) and less of the 'luxury' (exercises, alliance activity).
4) The NZDF has a higher profile, and is seen as 'being busy' doing things Kiwis like overseas. This is a huge change from the 80s perception of whitewashing rocks, square bashing and preparing to fight communists in jungles Kiwis don't care about.
Post by thelensofhistory on Mar 4, 2015 21:14:19 GMT 12
If this post appears twice please delete it. I don't know if the last one went through or not. The Australians are considering a number of designs to act as the basis for the Anzac Class frigate replacement. Joining the Sea 5000 project could be an option for a future NZ government.
You might want to think twice about that. They just dismantled their DMO and are shedding 1650 staff in the process (with more expected). They are 3 years behind in their AWD Destroyers delivery due to fabrication issues. Currently their submarine procurement is a circus with the politicians making up the process and rules that generate the best optics to win SA seats in 2016. NZ is better off shopping around themselves. The Brits would love an additional order for their Type 46 programme that they are ramping up. Likewise the French (FREMM), Italians (FREMM), Germans (F125) and Spanish (F101) are all very keen to sell some of their own new Frigates on order to 2020. France sold their new FREMM Frigate Normandie (D651) to Egypt -the most recent example. Personally I still think the Danes may still be the best to go into a partnership with just by their whole philosophy to building the Iver Huitfedlt Frigate class and that they build them for the Artic
Post by thelensofhistory on Apr 3, 2015 14:18:06 GMT 12
All very good points. The Australian defence industry needs to retool because 3D printing has rendered current production lines obsolete. Sea 5000 requirments (image source) If the RNZN could get the same capabilities and remain inter operable with the RAN I am all for other options. What concerns me is the missile defence role. If in the event of war the Hobart Class AWD are deployed with a USN Carrier group NZ may be left vulnerable.
Thanks. Thats what I mean about build philosophy. The Danes has invested a lot of design time into economic shipbuilding practices (reflected in the lowest unit cost) and in ensuring flexible combat capabilities for small navies. Its well published a key feature of the Danish Navy's recent ship classes is their Standard Flex system containerized systems and armament so that they can be easily swapped out at dockside - real plug & play. Affords variations and incremental growth in possible armament and system (ie. Sea Ceptor) without major refit, and transferable to other hulls equipped to receive StanFlex modules. Their vessels are designed so you can recycle older kit from existing vessels until you are ready to upgrade. Interoperablity in ANZAC and ability to generate missile defense think would be easily satisfied with this ship type.
Listed Armament (some like the Harpoon and Mk41 are examples of their existing kit) 8-16 Harpoon Anti-Ship Missiles Mk 41 Vertical Launch System with 32 cells, carrying 32 SM-2 Block IIIA Surface-to-Air Missiles Mk 56 Vertical Launch Systems with 24-48 Enhanced Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) Surface-to-Air Missiles 2 twin launchers for MU90 Anti-Submarine Torpedoes 1-2 Otobreda 76mm Super-Rapid 1 Oerlikon Millennium 35mm Close In Weapons Systems
Post by thelensofhistory on Apr 4, 2015 19:21:58 GMT 12
Wow I am ashamed that NZ doesn't have its own defence industry.
Have the Danes solved the problems the USN has had with the modular on the LCS? The Harpoon missile is reaching the end of its life cycle. A combination of factors (US budget cutbacks and history of canceled projects in general) leave me wondering if the RN and the RAN will experience a capability gap when it comes to anti shipping missiles?
Providing they can be modified for conditions beyond the Baltic the Danish Frigates deserve serious consideration.
The StanFlex mission payload system was developed in the 1980s by the Danish Navy (KDM) and now operates across about 9 classes of vessels in their fleet. They have developed about 11 different mission payloads of various weapons and systems in modular containers that are interchangable between a variety of vessels at dockside in just a few hours. Would not be surprised if the USN got the idea for the LCS from KDM.
KDM just get their suppliers to build the guts into this container module, the weapon or system is mounted on top of the module. The modules are precision machined to mate up with connections for power, ventilation, communications, water, and data in the ships 'slots' and they have a set of standard consoles in CIC to operate them from. With this set-up KDM has been able to save a lot of money and time when upgrading missile systems, guns, torpedoes and sonar as you can imagine.
30 years, 9 classes of vessel, 11 modules - think they have proven their system works. Like I said the Danes share a lot of similarities with NZ. Similar size country and population and economic constraints. Their naval fleet is bigger than ours but nevertheless still a small navy working within a budget. Their EEZ is vast, maritime-wise fisheries and drilling are significant so their patrol covers Baltics, Iceland and Arctic circle necessitating both a blue water and littoral vessels. Their design and ship building pedigree are extensive.