A new Regional Support Craft (RSC) destined for Army’s 51st Far North Queensland Regiment is undergoing sea trials in Yamba on NSW north coast, as boat manufacturer Yamba Welding & Engineering (YWE) prepares to hand over the craft to the ADF later this month.
Heralding a new maritime capability for the Regional Force Surveillance Group (RFSG) fleet, the 12.5m Naiad is designed for a number of mission sets, including boosting Army’s sovereign border protection activities in Far North Queensland.
This new watercraft is sister vessel to a series of Border Force Naiads that were delivered by YWE in 2019 for use in a variety of Australian coastal regions as part of Operation Sovereign Borders. It will also join an 11.3m Naiad in operation on Thursday Island by Queensland Police.
The regional support craft will provide a spectrum of marine support operations to Regional Force Surveillance Units (RFSU) including search, rescue and recovery, casualty evacuation, stores and equipment transfer, community engagement and surveillance.
Naiad says the vessel performance and handling is well suited to complex bodies of water and highly variable maritime conditions, as it facilitates personnel movement within the Torres Strait and Cape York Area of Operations, enabling engagement with local communities and other government agencies.
“For over 20 years Australia and New Zealand’s coast guard, rescue, patrol and Defence agencies have relied on Naiad’s performance and handling in some of the world’s most challenging maritime conditions,” Darren Schuback, Managing Director of The Whiskey Project Group, parent company of Naiad and YWE, said.
The recent extreme weather events experienced in northern NSW provided opportunity for the Naiad to demonstrate its performance and handling in elevated sea states, with sea trial operations undertaken in sea states up to Sea State 5.
“It is a testament to the capability of our region, that this vessel is made here in Yamba by skilled local professionals is to be used in a national capacity," Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said.
"We are delighted to demonstrate how all of Australia benefits when the solution is a superior-performing vessel, built from the ground up, right here in Australia," Schuback said. "It benefits our regional Torres Strait neighbours and Far North Queensland communities, it benefits the regiment, it benefits Operation Sovereign Borders. It benefits Australia’s maritime industry, our manufacturing skills, training and employment. But most importantly, it benefits the end user who receives a fit-for-purpose vessel that will enhance their ability to safely undertake the variety of maritime missions they perform each day.”
The regional support craft is to be based on Thursday Island, a remote locality that influenced a number of key capability requirements including stability, safety, consistent performance and handling in difficult sea states, and the necessity for the vessel to operate on diesel fuel.
To best meet the performance capability requirements of the vessel - with a diesel fuel system - Army selected the COX CXO300 outboards – a new generation of diesel power which is a light-weight and robust marine propulsion option that requires 25 per cent less fuel than an equivalent gasoline outboard but offers 650Nm of engine torque.
The first of their type in Australia, these COX V8 diesel outboards are designed to last three times longer than a gasoline equivalent.
“The CXO300 diesel outboard has been designed and built specifically for marine use – the first of its kind," A spokesperson from Power Equipment, the Australian distributor for the COX diesel outboards, said. "Power Equipment feels honoured to supply Australia’s first CXO diesel outboards to the ADF."