Future Royal New Zealand Navy

The following vessels constitute a Future Royal New Zealand Navy targeting the years 2020-2024. The two primary missions of the Navy are to defend the territorial waters of New Zealand and to contribute to regional actions; namely humanitarian logistical support and low intensity warfare. All major ships must be fitted with SAMPSON Radar, CIWS, ASW technology and field UAVs.

The major ships of the fleet follow below:

Iver Huitfeldt Class Frigates (2)

These ships are intended to replace the Anzac Class Frigates currently in service and will have the capacity to fire Tomahawk cruise missiles to provide a strategic deterrent. They must also be fitted with towed sonar arrays to improve their ASW capabilities and CIWS to deal with missile threats. Their main gun is to be either the Advanced Gun System or the Otobreda 127/64 gun. Each ship will come equipped with a multi-role helicopter, either an AW101 or SH-60R, that can conduct anti-submarine duties as well as surface attack. Shipboard UAVs, that may include future multi-day endurance airships, must be included as standard equipment.

Absalon Class Support Ships (2)

These vessels have two functions: to operate as Combat Frigates, having a similar capability to the Iver Huitfeldt Class, or as Logistical Support Ships with their flexible deck system. The flex deck, with a stern roll-on roll-off capability, allows for 200 troops and their vehicles, a mine laying (300) capacity, command and control systems, standard container carriage, or a containerised hospital.  Each ship will also be equipped with two AW101 multi-role helicopters and UAVs, including multi-day endurance airship variants.

HMNZS Cantebury Strategic Sealift (1)

HMNZS Cantebury, currently in service, must be fitted with CWIS to deal with missile attacks and have anti-torpedo countermeasures. A RAM anti-aircraft system should also be incorporated. UAVs will be necessary and may include future multi-day endurance airship variants. Serious consideration must be taken to replace this vessel with a more seaworthy ship at some time before 2024.

Gowind Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (6)

These OPVs are intended to replace all the current patrol vessels. In addition to the 76mm deck gun these ships will be equipped with a RAM system for missile and air defence. All vessels will be fitted to carry anti-ship missiles, but only two equipped with these weapons. The OPVs will be modified to extend the flight deck over the RHIB dock allowing the aircraft hangar situated under the bridge to be moved further aft. These ships will typically carry 2-3 UAVs, likely Camcopters, with the capacity to operate a light helo, such as the Super Seasprite or AS565 MB Panther, when desired. If budgets allow an evolved Damen 2400 OPV design should replace two or more of these ships and have ASW capability.

MH-60R Seahawk Multirole Helicopters (14+)

MH-60 Romeo helicopters are to be shared between the Navy and land based forces with at least six acting as ground attack platforms in support of the Army. Provision should be made to field a 20mm to 30mm gun on one side of the aircraft when operating from land. Their armaments should also include air-to-air missiles for self defence. Another option is to acquire additional Super Seasprites and have them upgraded to perform this role.

Vessel Summary:

(2) Iver Huitfeldt Class Frigates - displacing  6,645 tons.

(2) Absalon Class Support Ship - displacing 6,600 tons.

(1) HMNZS Cantebury Strategic Sealift or replacement - displacing 9,000 tons.

(6) Gowind Class Offshore Patrol Vessels - displacing 1450 tons.

(1) HMNZS Endeavour oiler replacement - displacing 16,000+ tons.

(1) Mine Sweeper - displacing 1500 tons.

(1) Survey Vessel - displacing 2000 tons.

*The HDW 216 Submarine Option (3)

The decision to purchase submarines rests upon the desire to provide a strategic deterrent. If costs allow, three 4000 ton long range HDW 216 boats should be commissioned. The roles of these vessels are many - to act as a strategic strike platform (via Tomahawk LAMs), as an anti-submarine platform, as an anti-ship platform, and also conduct intelligence and special forces operations.  These boats must also come equipped with towed sonar arrays, expendable UAVs, and (later) field a tube-launched anti-aircraft system for downing ASW aircraft. *Note: The verticle launch tubes may be deleted from the final design as Harpoon and Tomahawk (TTL) missiles can be fired through the torpedo tubes. An alternative to the HDW 216 is a modified version of the Sōryū-Class or the SMX Ocean-Class boat.


  1. Submarine??? Is this New Zealand your saying??

  2. The page is a conceptual exercise. The boats would be purchased off an existing line and act as the primary deterrent and partner in joint exercises - where a considerable increase in spending would be in order.

    Future ADF Page also outlines a modest proposal to reintroduce a squadron of frontline fighters for the RNZAF.

    I understand that politically New Zealand Governments have severe difficulties in spending money on defence. I tried not to stray too far beyond what might be possible, and wanted to include a serious deterrent.

    I appreciate your sentiment !

  3. Submarines are a bridge too far. Frigate's definitely - New Zealand should just piggy back on what Australia purchases (just add 2-3 onto the order). Minimises spare parts costs! I also agree the time has now come to consider a small fighter aircraft unit, although I would consider an attack helicopter squadron as an alternative.

    Frustration with New Zealand is that they are running large government surplus's and have plenty of cash, yet seem to resist taking defense seriously. As a reasonably 'wealthy' western economy, they need to spend more.

  4. Hi Unknown,

    I assume you saw the entry on the RNZAF where I recommended Gripen E fighters. I wanted the best and easiest to maintain aircraft on the market. They could take the earlier Gripen C which would be the cheapest option, but I am looking forward and considered that the more capable costlier choice was more appropriate:


    With the NZ Frigate selection I wanted to include the Absalon class as it gave them an expanded sealift capability whilst also allowing for an increase in the number of fighting ships.

    Adding attack helicopters is a good idea. I'd still like to keep the fighter aircraft. As a matter of national pride I feel the New Zealanders should have a credible fighter.

    In terms of attack helos I am considering expanding their naval helo numbers and replacing their Super Seasprites with 12+ MH-60Rs. With NZ I am trying to get as much dual use as possible to keep platform numbers as low as possible. I am open to suggestions here.

    I understand everyone's reaction to the submarines. For the Australian Navy I included CVL aircraft carriers, preferably two, as an option. These are the sorts of things that I would choose if buckets of money were forthcoming, aside from an overall expansion in every service.

    Sometime in 2017 I intend on updating all the existing entries on the main page thread. In the intro I mentioned that the site is partly inspired/influenced by the Falklands War. I will archive the older posts (that appeared from 2012 onwards) and alter the emphasis with a greater focus on Army (expanding it), and taking cues from my 2015 White Paper submission:


    Rather than simply (and improbably?) gearing towards defending the continent from invasion I will also seriously consider engagements in defence of East Timor, the defence of Singapore and a war in West Papua against an Islamist Indonesian presence. In the next 10 years Governments may change, economies will grow and perhaps collapse, so who knows exactly what we will face in the future.

    Thanks for your comment.

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  6. Lose the frigates. Swap them out for a littoral ship and an icebreaking OPV. Then combine the Airforce and Navy to form an armed Coastguard. It is very much an expensive Coastguard at the moment.