Surface Forces: Corvettes For The Kiwi Coast Guard


February 26, 2010: The Royal New Zealand Navy has received the first of two new offshore patrol vessels (OPV). These 1,700 ton, corvette type vessels are basically coast guard ships, not warships. Actually, the ship belongs to the navy, because that force also performs coast guard functions. The first of the new OPVs, the HMNZS Otago, has a crew of 49 (including ten to operate the helicopter and four government officials). Armament consists of a 25mm Bushmaster remotely controlled autocannon, two 12.7mm machine-guns and small arms. A SH-2G helicopter is carried, and can be armed with machine-guns, torpedoes, depth charges or Maverick surface-to-ground missiles. But the SH-2G is normally used for search and rescue, and rarely armed with more than a machine-gun. There is a hanger aft for the helicopter, as well as a landing platform on the 85 meter (254 foot) long ship.

The OPV also has accommodations for 30 passengers and one shipping container (handled via an onboard crane.) There are two 7.7 meter rigid inflatable boats for boarding parties, and six 45 man inflatable life rafts. Top speed is over 40 kilometers an hour. At cruising speed (22 kilometers an hour), the OPV can travel about 10,000 kilometers (about 20 days at sea).





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