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25 Aug 16. New Zealand Government approves purchase plans for new naval ship. The New Zealand Government has approved plans to acquire a new ship for littoral operations, in a bid to enhance the country’s naval capability. A request for tenders will soon be issued by the Ministry of Defence and New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), revealed Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee. The approval follows a $493m contract to construct a new naval tanker, which was awarded to South Korean firm Hyundai Heavy Industries last month. Under the littoral operations support capability project, the new ship is expected to support the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) in performing hydrography, deep diving and mine countermeasure activities.
Brownlee said: “This ship will provide the RNZN Littoral Warfare Unit with a dedicated support ship that offers a range of useful capabilities in one hull.
“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 vessel will replace two navy ships, the 40-year old diving ship HMNZS Manawanui that is scheduled to retire in 2018, and the retired hydrographic ship HMNZS Resolution. Brownlee further noted that the new vessel will also support sea-to-shore operations undertaken by the NZDF in low-to-medium threat environments, and can be engaged in humanitarian and disaster relief operations in the Pacific. The ship will also be deployed into other missions, such as search-and-rescue, salvage, and hazard clearance activities around New Zealand and the South Pacific. (Source: naval-technology.com)
25 Aug 16. Ahead of a short week long vacation and with industry and macro-economic news seemingly withering on the vine ahead of the bank holiday weekend, just a few quick words this morning on news that the MOD has now sold the decommissioned aircraft/helicopter carrier, HMS Illustrious for scrap. I will also add to this a quick update on INS Viraat, the former HMS Hermes and that is today, I believe, the oldest commissioned warship in the world and which will later this year be decommissioned by the Indian Navy and then preserved. Despite the notion that, having been stung by the outcry that followed the premature withdrawal of HMS Ark Royal and her Harrier GR9 capability in 2011, that as the last of the three Invincible class carriers she would following decommissioning be preserved, I am not surprised that HMS Illustrious is now heading the way of both her sister ships to Turkey’s LEYAL Ship Recycling yard.
The idea that HMS Illustrious might be saved for preservation was not one that I ever bought into. While it is true that the MOD went through some motions in order to gather up future ideas of how the ship may be preserved I never believed this was anything other than an attempt to be seen playing to the Gallery. I may well be shot down in flames for suggesting this but to my mind the idea of preserving HMS Illustrious had little if any merit.
That is not to suggest that I do not believe we should preserve the occasional modern warship and had there been an idea to say preserve HMS Ark Royal 1V in 1978 or even HMS Hermes in 1987 rather than to sell her to the Indian Government I might have taken a very different view.
(As an aside here, readers may be interested to know that the former HMS Hermes which, following 34 years of service in the Royal Navy, then went on to sail with the Indian Navy as INS Viraa