Otago was the first Offshore Patrol Vessel to be built for New Zealand
HMNZS Otago P148 is a Protector class off-shore patrol vessel in service with the Royal New Zealand Navy. The offshore patrol vessels are usually the smallest ship in a navy’s fleet that is large and seaworthy enough to patrol off-shore in the open ocean.
In larger militaries, such as in the United States military, offshore patrol vessels usually serve in the coast guard, but many smaller nations navies like the Royal New Zealand Navy operate these type of ships.
The Otago costing around $110 million NZD, the first steel was cut in February 2005 and was launched in November 2006, the vessel was delivered to Royal New Zealand Navy in February 2010, two years later than planned due suffered from problems during construction.
The ship is named in honour of the New Zealand province of Otago, associated with the city of Dunedin. The previous HMNZS Otago F111, was a Rothesay-class frigate that served in the Royal New Zealand Navy from 1960 until 1983.
Otago was the first Offshore Patrol Vessel to be built for New Zealand. Modules of the ship were built separately, including some in Whangarei, to be assembled at the Tenix shipyard. The ship was based on a design already in service with the Irish Navy and Maritius Coastguard, however the adopted design is considerably upgraded.
The ship is not designed as an icebreaker or to enter Antarctic ice packs but has a strengthened hull that enables her to enter southern waters. The ship also has the range and other cold-climate capability to undertake operations in the freezing conditions of the southern oceans.
The vessel has an overall length of 85m, a waterline length of 77.6m and a moulded breadth of 14m. Depth to main deck is 6.8m and design draft is 3.6m. Displacement of the boat is 1,900 tonnes. The vessel has a maximum ranger of 6,000 nautical miles at 15 knots speed and an endurance of 21 days.
The ship has a fairly conventional design with a superstructure. The Otago can carry two rigid-hulled inflatable boats 7.74m, or one special forces Rigid-hulled inflatable boat 11m. She has a complement of 35 naval personnel and four Government agency officers and also has the capacity to host 30 additional personnel onboard for general naval training or other duties. The vessel has a high level of comfort for crew and client agency officials and has the ability to perform patrol missions in sea state 6, and can survive in sea state 9.
A helicopter landing floor at the stern with basic maintenance hangar is reserved for one SH-2G Super Seasprite helicopter, the helicopter can be armed with a combination of homing torpedoes, depth charges, AGM-65 Maverick Air to Surface missiles and M60 Machine Gun.
An A109 light utility helicopter can also be accommodated as an alternative to Seasprite. Otago can launch and recover the helicopter in sea state 5.
The heart of the ship is two MAN B&W 12RK280 diesel engines, supplying 7250 horsepower each at 1000 rpm, this helps the ship can reach a maximum speed of 22 knots.
The main armament is one remote controlled Rafael Typhoon 25 mm stabilised naval gun and two M2HB 12.7mm machine guns. M2HB can fire 450 to 575 rounds a minute for a range of 1,800m.
The Otago operates throughout New Zealand’s 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone, the southern ocean and the Pacific. Combined with the RNZAF P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft, she undertakes a range of roles including patrolling, surveillance, search and rescue, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, support to peacekeeping operations and sea training for the Navy.
The surveillance tasks are primarily non-military in support of civilian agencies and involve specialist staff from government agencies such as Foreign Affairs, Customs and Fisheries. In addition, she regularly support the operations of other government agencies.
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