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Australia buys Norwegian commercial ship to boost undersea military operations

Photo: Solstad Offshore

Australia has procured a 10-year-old Norwegian vessel for A$110 million, which will be transformed into a military vessel to assist and enhance future undersea military operations.

Construction support vessel Normand Jarl has been delivered to its new owner in Skudeneshavn, Norway by Normand Ships AS, a subsidiary of Solstad Offshore ASA, as per the terms outlined in a stock exchange announcement made on December 12, 2022. The vessel has been in service with Solstad Offshore since 2010.

The vessel is presently undergoing inspection and certification procedures in Singapore and is expected to sail to Australia under an Australian flag later this year. The ship will be rebranded as the Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Guidance.

By procuring a dedicated undersea support vessel, the Australian government is delivering improved maritime capabilities to the Australian Defence Force (ADF), the defense ministry said.

ADV Guidance will primarily serve the purpose of aiding undersea surveillance system trials, which includes the capacity to launch undersea crewed and uncrewed vehicles, as well as robotic and autonomous systems.

According to Deputy Secretary Naval Shipbuilding and Sustainment Tony Dalton, the new acquisition will be utilized to advance various trials and activities that utilize new technologies in the undersea domain.

“Defense is committed to providing a state-of-the-art capability that will enhance the ADF’s ability to deliver various undersea project outcomes,” stated Mr. Dalton.

ADV Guidance, measuring 107 meters in length, 22 meters in width, and displacing 7400 tonnes, will be able to support an array of defense activities due to its modular mission systems. This feature enables specialist teams and load-outs to embark on the vessel, which helps meet diverse system trial requirements.