August 24, 2016 - Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says the Government has approved a Ministry of Defence and New Zealand Defence Force recommendation to request tenders for a new naval ship to support littoral operations.
The announcement follows last month’s awarding of a $493 million contract to deliver a new naval tanker.
The Littoral Operations Support Capability will provide a platform for Royal New Zealand Navy hydrography, deep diving and mine countermeasures activities.
“This ship will provide the RNZN Littoral Warfare Unit with a dedicated support ship that offers a range of useful capabilities in one hull,” Mr Brownlee says.
“I recently visited members of the Littoral Warfare Unit as they participated in the RIMPAC exercise in Hawaii, and was very impressed by the work they do mapping the sea floor and employing deep divers to conduct a range of operations.
“This new vessel is a much-needed platform for this unit to carry out their important work.”
The new 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.
Mr Brownlee says the new vessel is one of a range of new capabilities to modernize the NZDF signaled in the recently-launched Defence White Paper.
“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.
The Littoral Warfare Unit is responsible for providing specialist services to the Defence Force, New Zealand Police, Maritime New Zealand and other government agencies in the littoral area. A formal request for tenders will be issued in early September.