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Project Protector

Fri, 6 Aug 2004

Project Protector

The Ministers of Defence and Finance announced on 30 July that the contract had been signed between the Government and ship builders Tenix Limited for the construction of seven new ships to be operated by the Navy.

The Ministers of Defence and Finance announced on 30 July that the contract had been signed between the Government and ship builders Tenix Limited for the construction of seven new ships to be operated by the Navy.

At a brief ceremony today held with Tenix, Ministers welcomed this next stage of the project.

The Minister of Finance, Dr Michael Cullen, said the $NZ500 million project is part of the approved Long Term Development Plan for the New Zealand Defence Force.

The Minister of Defence, Mark Burton is very pleased that the project is now under way.

"It is planned that the Multi Role Vessel (MRV), two Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) and four Inshore Patrol Vessels (IPVs) will enter service over the next 3 years.

"They will represent a significant increase in the Government's capability to meet military and civilian responsibilities throughout New Zealand's extensive EEZ, in the South Pacific and in the Southern Ocean.

"They will fulfil a broad range of requirements including personnel and cargo sealift, emergency response, fisheries and customs patrols and at sea training for the Royal New Zealand Navy." The Minister of Defence said a whole of government approach had been followed from the inception of the project and during the tender evaluation phase.

"The ships will be operated by the Navy and used for military purposes as well as meeting the needs of a number of other Government agencies.

Each ship will have designated facilities for staff from other agencies who will embark when required for different operations.

The MRV will have accommodation for up to fifty Army and Air Force personnel as part of the ship's company and further space for up to 250 soldiers together with their vehicles and stores to carry them on operational deployments.

It will have the capability to carry an Infantry Company including its Light Armoured Vehicles and other equipment and will have the capacity to move New Zealand Defence Force equipment for operations like the recent Solomon Islands and East Timor deployments.

The ship will also be fitted out to enable humanitarian and emergency responses involving multi-agency personnel and equipment, in the South Pacific.

Both the MRV and the OPVs will be ice strengthened for operations in the Southern ocean and the Ross Sea and will also have the capability to embark Seasprite helicopters, which will enhance their ability to undertake maritime patrol tasks.

ENDS

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