New Zealand to get new littoral ship
The New Zealand government has approved a recommendation from the Ministry of Defence and New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) to move ahead with plans for a new naval ship to support littoral operations, it was announced on 24 August.
The littoral operations support capability will provide the Royal New Zealand Navy Littoral Warfare Unit with a dedicated support ship that offers a range of useful capabilities in one hull, such as deep diving, hydrography and mine countermeasure missions. The new ship will replace the hydrographic ship HMNZS Resolution, which retired in 2012, and diving ship HMNZS Manawanui, which is due to retire in 2018.
Gerry Brownlee, Defence Minister of New Zealand, said: ‘The ship will offer new capabilities that will support NZDF sea-to-shore operations in low to medium threat environments. It will be used, for example, to identify safe approaches and landing zones when harbour channels or ports are unavailable after natural disasters. It will have particular utility in the Pacific, assisting with humanitarian and disaster relief operations.
‘The ship will also enhance the NZDF’s ability to support search and rescue, salvage, and hazard clearance activities around New Zealand and in the South Pacific.’
A formal request for tenders will be issued in September. The approval follows a NZD$493 million contract that was awarded in July 2016 for a new naval tanker.