19 Juli 2016
Computer generated imagery of the Royal New Zealand Navy's new fleet tanker that will be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries. (image : RNZN)
The New Zealand government has approved the acquisition of new fleet tanker for the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) for NZD493 million (USD349 million), the country's minister for defence, Gerry Brownlee, announced on 18 July.
The platform, which will replace the RNZN's 30-year old HMNZS Endeavour , will be built by South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and is expected to be delivered in 2020.
"This vessel will be significantly larger, will be able to refuel two ships at a time while underway, carry and refuel defence force helicopters, produce and store water, and store and transport bulk goods," said Brownlee in a statement.
"The government has also opted to include ice-strengthening and winterisation features, representing a very useful enhanced capability when compared to the current tanker," he said, adding that it is important for New Zealand to have an asset that is capable of supporting a presence in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.
No technical specifications were provided by the defence ministry to accompany Brownlee's announcement but computer generated imagery of the tanker released by the RNZN via its official social media channel on the same day depict a vessel with a single superstructure featuring two replenishment at sea (RAS) masts, one each on the port and starboard sides. The design also features a flight deck that can accommodate one helicopter.
The platform has also been pictured with a close-in weapon system, which most closely resembles the Raytheon Phalanx 20 mm turret, on its bow.
Endeavour is scheduled to be retired in 2018.