Defence invests $110m in undersea support vessel for future ops

Norwegian-built Normand Jarl is set to arrive later this year and will be renamed Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Guidance. Image credit: Solstad Offshore

The Australian Government has procured a dedicated Undersea Support Vessel for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in a push to enhance maritime capability.

The MV Normand Jarl, a 10-year-old Norwegian ship bought by Australia for $110 million, will soon be converted into a defence force vessel, dedicated to supporting future undersea military operations, the government revealed in a press release. 

Defence Department deputy secretary for naval shipbuilding and sustainment Tony Dalton said the new acquisition would be used to further advance a range of trials and activities involving new technologies in the undersea domain.

“Defence is demonstrating its commitment to providing a cutting-edge capability, which will expand the ADF’s ability to deliver multiple undersea project outcomes,” Dalton said.

The offshore services ship, which was formerly flown by Norway, is currently undergoing inspection and certification in Singapore before being reflagged as an Australian vessel and sailing to Australia.

The government revealed that the ship will be renamed Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Guidance.

Built in 2013, the MV Normand Jarl is 107 metres long, 22 metres wide and displaces 7,400 tons. 

It will be equipped with modular mission systems once in service as the Guidance, allowing the ship to sustain a range of Defence activities by embarking varying specialist teams and load-outs to meet specific trial requirements. 

The primary role of Guidance will be to support undersea surveillance systems trials and will enable the deployment and evaluation of undersea crewed and uncrewed vehicles, and robotic and autonomous systems.

“ADV Guidance will be instrumental in developing and testing robotic and autonomous underwater systems, ensuring Defence can compete and succeed in a wide variety of complex undersea environments,” Dalton concluded.