17 Desember 2010

RAN to Acquire ex-RN Bay Class LSD?

17 Desember 2010

The RN's Bay Class LSD meets many of the specifications for the RAN's JP2048 Phase 4C. (photo : thinkdefence)

Rumours abound that the RAN may be acquiring an ex-RN Bay Class Landing Ship Dock (LSD) as a result of the UK MoD defence cutbacks.

The specifications for JP2048 Phase 4C as stated in the White Paper are: “a large strategic sealift ship to move stores, equipment and personnel”.

“Based on a proven design, the new ship will have a displacement of 10,000 - 15,000 tonnes, with landing spots for a number of helicopters and an ability to land vehicles and other cargo without requiring port infrastructure.”

One blogger sees this as basically a description of the Bay class, and that there was the expectation that we’d buy the design off the drawing board and contract either BAE Systems or Scheldt to build one.

“One of the Bays becoming available suits us perfectly: it saves us a fair bit of cash (budget is $150-200 million, and I’d imagine we’ll get one of the Bays for ~$70-100 million, bear in mind the dollar is strong at the moment too), and it’s available right now.

“Recall that at the moment the LPAs [Landing Platform, Amphibious] are experiencing some pretty major problems related to the age of the vessels, so getting the JP2048 P4C vessel into service by the end of next year would really get us out of a bind, since it’d allow the RAN to either repair only one of the LPAs or run the LSD(A) in parallel to the LPA but reduce the operational burden on the LPAs (the Bay class run with a crew of about 60 so the RAN should be able to man one without too much difficulty).”

Another observer has doubts as to whether the RAN would cancel an LHD for the sake of a cheap LSD – pointing out that the LSD probably won’t do the job of a dedicated fleet supply ship, which is what Success is due to be replaced with.

However, he adds that a Bay class ship would be a perfect replacement for Tobruk (which is what they were designed for in any case).

It appears that at one stage the RAN was looking at the Dutch Rotterdam class as a replacement for HMAS Success - guess what?

The Bay class is based on the self-same design.

Even more interesting – Spain uses the same design, built by Navantia as the Galicia class.

(Australian Defence Magazine)

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