September 9, 2020 – Beca Applied Technologies Ltd, with the support of specialist naval architecture company Vard Marine Inc, have been appointed by the New Zealand Ministry of Defence as the Technical Support Partner to the Southern Ocean Patrol Vessel (SOPV) project. Beca and Vard Marine will join the Ministry’s Integrated Project Team providing systems engineering, concept design and technical logistics input for the early stages of the project as the capability is defined and specified.
The SOPV project is exploring options for a ship that is designed to operate in one of the harshest environments on the planet. An ice-strengthened offshore patrol vessel for Southern Ocean operations will be navigating the large distance between New Zealand and Antarctica, it will be traversing one of the roughest seas in the world, and must be able to operate safely in Ross Sea ice conditions. Any vessel that can meet these needs will need characteristics tailored to these demanding conditions.
Beca has been a long-standing strategic supplier to the Ministry of Defence and New Zealand Defence Force. They have a successful track record of support to capability development projects and programs including more recently the Maritime Sustainment Capability and the Dive Hydro Vessel project that contributed to the delivery of HMNZS Aotearoa and HMNZS Manawanui. Beca has a thorough understanding of Defense’s Capability Management System and continues to provide systems engineering support to both capability development programs for MoD and in-service capabilities for NZDF.
Andrew Ford, Business Director – Defence & National Security at Beca states: “We are delighted to be supporting the development of another critical capability for the people and Government of New Zealand. The SOPV has the potential to provide much needed presence in the Southern Ocean to safeguard New Zealand’s interests there. We are excited to partner with the MoD Integrated Project Team and to bring VARD’s significant polar class experience to this program.”
New Zealand’s Otago Class patrol vessels, HMNZS Otago and HMNZS Wellington, were designed by Vard Marine and delivered in 2010. These vessels have operated in heavy sea states and ice in the Southern Ocean, and the SOPV is intended to provide improved operability in similar conditions. Vard Marine’s recent experience with the Antarctic Support Vessel for the Chilean Navy and the Southern Ocean research vessel for the South African Navy, along with similar projects for the United States Coast Guard, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Coast Guard, and the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy, all translates directly to this program.
Derek Buxton, VP Business Development at Vard Marine states: “Vard Marine is delighted to once again be supporting the Royal New Zealand Navy in developing another vitally important maritime capability. This time we very much look forward to combining our expertise in multi-role ships designed for high-latitude operations with the regional defense knowledge and systems engineering expertise that Beca brings to the program.”
A potent combination, Beca and Vard Marine together present the best of local systems engineering expertise partnered with specialist international polar class naval architecture. Beca and Vard Marine are looking forward to working together with the Ministry of Defence in the coming years to define and design the SOPV capability requirements for New Zealand in preparation for going to market.