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Australia Future Frigate Decision

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Old 7th July 2018, 08:38
seaman38 seaman38 is offline  
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 633
Nige #22

Thank you for those kind words, they are appreciated.

As we used to say at sea 'we don't get paid much, but we don't arf ave fun!' and the example you quoted on the drill bit is alas systematic of all public bodies from my experience. It's only when you work for yourself and it's your money going down the drain that you stop travelling club class. But I always paid my boys top whack as it was money better spent, and I know they were pizzed off when they had to rip out excellent work and start again. I was lucky I had good guys working for me and all had a sense of humour, sorely needed at times even in the commercial world and on Aid Programmes
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Old 8th July 2018, 01:19
Scratch68 Scratch68 is offline  
Organisation: Other Navies
Active: 1964 - 1988
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 86
Spongebob - the Brook Marine patrol craft issue related to its size. Defence proposed a 110 (or 115?) foot version based on extensive study of sea state and wave patterns around New Zealand. However the cost was greater than the government would accept and the end result was the Navy was forced into obtaining the 105 ft version, which was too short. Boats caused a lot of human damage in heavy seas due to crew being thrown about and injured. You are right in commenting on the internal outfitting but that was not a major deficiency.

The acquisition of 'Charles Upham' (your fruit carrier) as a point-to-point logistic support ship (not a 'civil rescue ship', and not a landing ship) was also beset by conflicting political direction and constraints. A significant impact was also that at the time the Army/Defence did not know what capability it wanted. The intention always was that a simple commercial vessel would be obtained and converted for use while experience was developed in the operation and use of logistic support vessels. Unfortunately following the purchase of Upham the government did not approve the funds for the planned conversion, so the ship was never configured as she should have been. The converted vessel would not have had the stability problems of the unconverted ship. The impact of another political decision, not a military specification/purchasing deficiency.

It is an unfortunate fact of military capability acquisition that optimal military choices are invariably degraded by the realities of funding and political willingness to spend.
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Old 9th July 2018, 06:53
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spongebob spongebob is offline
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Engineering
Active: 1957 - 1961
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 8,800
Hello scratch 68 , I guess that you can never expect the true story about a ship's health or habits , as Lewis Carroll's Walrus and the Carpenter said you can talk of many things , of ships and sealing wax and why do pigs have wings but points of view differ but always with a few grains of truth ,
We all have different handles to these stories.
During the late 1970's , while I was Auckland manager of the NZ agent for Brook Marine ,the RNZN requested a meeting of the various contributors to the patrol craft's propulsion equipment and I attended with the chief draughtsman of Brook Marine along with local GEC people (engines) and Germans from ZF (gearboxes) .
The problems under discussion included cylinder head problems (Valve seats loosening due to heavy load ) and failure of gearbox bearings . Central to the argument was that the engines must be operating at overload and that the gearbox bearing failures were likely due to fretting by the propellor shafts when the vessel was unable to reach planing speed due to the excessive payload.
We went on board a boat on the first day and it seemed odd to see that the engine room with a major vacant space to cater for the longer ,more powerful 12 cylinder engines of the base design and became my unexpressed and perhaps unqualified opinion that those missing engine cylinders were the root
The boat's adverse sea handling in typical NZ offshore and inshore waters was definitely understandable as well but I guess nothing turns out perfect when technical expertise and financial limitations clash.
I sat in for the initial discussionand the final summary at the end of a week and the oblique conclusion was that more trials should be held with lesser ballast and other tests etc and that a further meeting be held at a later date which ZF offered to host at Friedrichshafen on Lake Constantine. I can still glimpse the slight smiles on the southern faces at the prospect of a trip there , a nice part of the European world.

Another comment of those times that I recall was from my partner's son in law who was then a young sub-Lieutenant navigator on the longer larger RAN patrol boat "Dubbo " when they cruised over to NZ on a good will visit . They met a RNZN Boat off North Cape and went alongside to exchange a few crew members to socialise on the run down to Auckland . The moment the last man cocked his leg over the rail both ships went into full power mode and the Aussies were amazed at how sluggish the NZ boat was.

It was believed that these flawed craft were to be an answer to a maiden's prayer after the relative ineffectiveness of the old 72 foot 12 knot harbour defence launches that had served for many years on fishery patrol duty despite the hard yards put in by crews and old Hand skipper Lieutenant Wilkie but it was not the case as for what ever reason military and political internal conflict intervened to waste a huge amount of money.
The last I saw of a BM patrol boat was moored in the Ferry Building basin during the 1998 Auckland power cable crisis , was she able able to help.
My recollections of the Charles Upham named commercial vessel are hazy but as you explain the good intentions of the naval planners was thwarted by the bean counters but as usual no one wears the blame, especially when government changes provide an easy downstream mat to sweep the dross under.

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Old 18th July 2018, 06:09
Scratch68 Scratch68 is offline  
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Active: 1964 - 1988
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Bob, thanks for the comprehensive insight. I was in the RNZN when the Brookes were about but didn't have any service in them. So my 'observations' on their performance are more anecdotal than factual. There is no question over them being a 'second best' acquisition because of political decisions.

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