Unlike the Cape Class, the Offshore Patrol 60 has a steel hull. Each of the notional variants, which can be modified to suit customer requirements, addresses a unique mission: surveillance, subsurface warfare, and maritime security.
In addition to sharing a common steel hull, all three variants of Offshore Patrol 60 are equipped with a rear launching boat ramp, flight deck for small Unmanned Aerial Systems (known as UAS), counter-drone systems, and 12.7mm machine guns.
The surveillance variant of the Offshore Patrol 60 is designed to perform intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions as well as search and rescue (SAR). It’s equipped with a Terma Scanter 4603 air search radar, unspecified electronic intelligence systems, and a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) UAS. Unlike some of the other variants, its only weapons are several 12.7mm machines arrayed around the hull.
Maritime Security variant
The Maritime Security variant of the Offshore Patrol 60 is the most heavily armed version. In the configuration displayed by Austal, it’s armed with a 40mm main gun, two 30mm remote weapon stations (RWS), and light surface to air missiles, externally resembling the FIM-92 Stinger. Its flight deck is also reserved for either a VTOL UAS (Such as the S-100 Camcopter) or fixed-wing systems (Like the RQ-21 Blackjack).
Subsurface Warfare variant
The final variant of the Offshore Patrol 60 displayed at INDO PACIFIC 2022 is one optimised for tackling subsurface threats, be they submarines or mines. A containerised towed array sonar is fitted to the aft cargo deck, which provides the OPV with advanced undersea awareness. A hull-mounted mine-detection sonar and crane capable of launching unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV) complement the sonar’s capabilities. The subsurface variant lacks a dedicated flight deck for drones, however, Naval News understands that small systems could operate from onboard.
Speaking to Naval News at INDO PACIFIC 2022, Austal said that they’re primarily marketing the OPV to markets in “Southeast Asia”, though they declined to name names. Austal also told Naval News that the design is very adaptable and that most subsystems, such as the towed array sonar, can be swapped on and off the ship.