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SEA 1905 Maritime Mine Countermeasures (MCM)

SEA 1905 is the Maritime Mine Countermeasures Program which includes Mine Warfare (MW) vessels. The Royal Australian Navy's SEA 1905 Maritime Mine Countermeasures (MCM) Program was announced in April 2019 to replace the RAN’s remaining four Huon-class minehunter coastal (MHC) ships from the mid-2020s onwards for A$1 billion. Two new ships will be based on the new Arafura-class offshore patrol vessel and deploy four modular unmanned autonomous systems that will be used as the minehunting capability. SEA 1905 replaces SEA 1179 Phase 1, which had originally intended to provide a service life extension to the Huon-class MHC but this was scrapped in favour of moving towards using unmanned and autonomous solutions for its MCM capability.

During the 2019 election campaign, Prime Minister Morrison announced that two new mine warfare support vessels would be constructed in WA though Project SEA 1905, while a new hydrographic vessel would be constructed through project SEA 2400. The government first outlined its vision for a replacement in the 2009 Defence White Paper. It said a fleet of 20 new Offshore Combatant Vessels, each as big as 2,000 tonnes, would replace the 14 Armidales, six Huon-class minehunters, plus hydrographic and oceanographic vessels. A single type of vessel would be configurable to different missions from mine-hunting to border protection to counter-terrorism. In 2013 that was dialled back a bit.

The Morrison Government committed to construct two further mine warfare support vessels at the Henderson shipyard precinct in Western Australia is part of a new mine warfare strategy. It would bring forward the replacement of the Huon-class mine hunters from the 2030s to the mid-2020s, as part of s new Maritime Mine Countermeasures Program (to be known as SEA 1905).

The Morrison Government allocated over $1 billion in the Defence Integrated Investment Program to deliver the full scope of SEA 1905, including the building of the two mine warfare support vessels and investment in new mine countermeasure (including autonomous) systems. The build of the three additional vessels will be coordinated with our existing naval shipbuilding programs in Western Australia. This will ensure the naval shipbuilding workforce in WA continues to grow over the long term. It’s estimated there will be around 1,000 jobs created to build the Arafura class offshore patrol vessels and 400 jobs to build the Guardian class Pacific patrol boats.

Under project SEA 1905 Phase 1, Defence has made a down-select decision to explore a variant of the offshore patrol vessels for the new Mine Countermeasures and Survey Vessels under project SEA 1905 Phase 1. This will support the construction of new vessels which will be built at the Henderson precinct, supporting local jobs in Western Australia.

During a visit to the Henderson precinct, the Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC commended the progress being made. “Following the election commitment made by the Federal Government in 2019, we are bringing forward the replacement of the Huon-class vessel from the 2030’s to the mid 2020’s. We are also committed to constructing a new hydrographic capability,” Minister Reynolds said. “These vessels will help Navy navigate more confidently throughout the region, and safely clear minefields with the use of autonomous technologies.”

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Page last modified: 27-01-2021 19:48:24 ZULU