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Navantia puts forward Tasman and Flight III surface ship designs

Navantia has thrown its hat into the ring for consideration for the Royal Australian Navy’s future surface fleet with a series of new warship designs.

Navantia has thrown its hat into the ring for consideration for the Royal Australian Navy’s future surface fleet with a series of new warship designs.

It unveiled a new Tier 2 multi-role combatant capability Tasman Class corvette at the Indo Pacific 2023 International Maritime Exposition in Sydney this week.

The 3,000-tonne design, based on five Alpha 3000 ships already being put into service with Saudi Arabia, features a crew of 90 with total capacity for 124 personnel, 16 VLS, four quad anti-ship missile launchers, close in weapons systems, and a 57mm main gun.


Navantia is also offering a heavier 3,700-tonne design, as well as a self-described “big brother” to the current Royal Australian Navy Hobart Class destroyer, the Flight III destroyer.

The Tier 1 Flight III design has options for directed energy weapons, 128 VLS, a five-inch millennium main gun. A Navantia spokesperson said all three designs are mature and very detailed and have received enormous interest throughout their exhibition in Sydney across the Indo Pacific conference.

Earlier this month Austal, Civmec, and Navantia Australia announced they have partnered to offer the Australian government a proposal to deliver six corvettes in recognition of the Navy’s urgent need for increased strike capability.

Those designs were developed by Navantia, the corvette combining the manoeuvrability of a Tier 2 vessel, with the weaponry of a major surface combatant. The corvettes would reportedly require a smaller crew than larger ships, without compromising on integrated anti-air, anti-surface, anti-submarine, electronic and asymmetric warfare capabilities, including sovereign solutions such as the Saab Australian combat system and CEA Technologies radars.

The three companies have been collaborating to develop a detailed proposal since November 2022. The proposal was first presented to the Commonwealth in response to the 2023 Defence Strategic Review (DSR) and the independent analysis of the Navy’s surface combatant fleet. The three companies are updating and expanding the proposal, now named the Tasman Class corvette.

The corvettes would be constructed entirely in Henderson, Western Australia, with production able to start rapidly as work on the design is well advanced and based on an operational reference vessel.

Austal chief executive officer Paddy Gregg said the corvette program will establish a genuine regional shipbuilding enterprise in Western Australia.

“Integrating the workforce, supply chain, facilities, systems and processes of the three partners will pave the path towards the consolidation of resources as recommended in the 2023 Defence Strategic Review,” he said.

“Austal recognises the strategic importance of a national shipbuilding capability, and we are excited by what this proposal would mean for continuous, sovereign shipbuilding, particularly in Western Australia. We have a long and close association with building ships on time and budget for the Royal Australian Navy, collaborating with the Department of the Defence, building ships based on third-party designs, and established relationships with valued supply chain partners. The Tasman Class opportunity is an extension of these relationships.

“Building Australia’s corvettes in Western Australia will establish both a genuine long-term shipbuilding enterprise at Henderson and the platform for continuous naval shipbuilding in the region – an enterprise that brings together the Commonwealth, regional shipbuilders, and their supply chains to establish a new warship construction hub.”

The proposed corvette designs would include NSM Anti Surface launchers and MK-41 vertical launch system cells, alongside existing Australian payloads, including the Saab 9LV combat management system, the CEA FAR OPVR radar, the newly announced Naval Strike Missiles, and the MH60-R Seahawk helicopter.

“Civmec look forward to working together with Navantia and Austal to deliver six or more seaworthy corvettes on schedule and to budget,” according to Civmec executive chairman Jim Fitzgerald.

“Civmec takes pride in our state-of-the-art, purpose-built ship construction, ship repair and maintenance facility we have built in Henderson. The facility can comfortably accommodate the proposed construction drumbeat of the corvettes in addition to our existing and future contracts. Civmec is committed to adding value to the Australian maritime landscape, and the Henderson facility is a testament to that commitment. Civmec is excited about the prospect of continuing to invest in infrastructure to support continuous naval shipbuilding in Henderson.

“We view this opportunity as one that will deliver both national and regional opportunities for Australian industry and deliver the best outcome for the Commonwealth and the Royal Australian Navy. Combined Civmec, Austal and the wider AMC Precinct have direct access to the skilled workforce required to support a program of this size, and together with Navantia’s technological expertise, will deliver locally built, internationally renowned naval ships.”

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