New Zealand to build new littoral operations support vessel

New Zealand’s Navy will receive a new support vessel after Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee announced that the government approved a Ministry of Defence and New Zealand Defence Force recommendation to request tenders for a new naval ship to support littoral operations.

The littoral operations support vessel will provide a platform for Royal New Zealand Navy hydrography, deep diving and mine countermeasures activities. It is part of New Zealand’s $20 billion defense equipment modernization plan announced in June 2016 through the country’s defense white paper.

A formal request for tenders will be issued in early September.

New Zealand also awarded a NZD$493 million contract last month to the South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries for the construction of an ice-going tanker for the Royal New Zealand Navy.

The new support ship will replace two Navy ships, the 40 year old diving ship HMNZS Manawanui, which is due to retire in 2018, and the hydrographic ship HMNZS Resolution, which was retired in 2012.

“This ship will provide the RNZN Littoral Warfare Unit with a dedicated support ship that offers a range of useful capabilities in one hull,” Brownlee said.

The minister further said the ship would enhance the NZDF’s ability to support search and rescue, salvage, and hazard clearance activities around New Zealand and in the South Pacific.

New Zealand’s Littoral Warfare Unit which will operate the ship is responsible for providing specialist services to the Defence Force, New Zealand Police, Maritime New Zealand and other government agencies in the littoral area.