MV Sycamore is a training ship built to support the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) by Netherlands shipbuilders Damen Group. The vessel was built in Damen's shipyard in Haiphong, Vietnam and launched in 2016. The ship is operated for the RAN by Teekay Australia and entered service in 2017.

MV Sycamore at HMAS Waterhen in December 2017.jpg
MV Sycamore docked at HMAS Waterhen in December 2017
Name: Sycamore
Owner: Defence Maritime Services
Operator: Teekay Shipping (Australia)
Builder: Damen Group, Haiphong, Vietnam
Laid down: 2014
Launched: 30 August 2016
In service: 4 August 2017
Homeport: Sydney
Status: In active service
General characteristics
Type: Training ship
  • 2,400 t (2,400 long tons) standard
  • 2,935 t (2,889 long tons) full load
Length: 94 m (308 ft 5 in)
Beam: 14.4 m (47 ft 3 in)
Speed: 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph)
Complement: 22
Aviation facilities: Flight deck and hangar

Design and descriptionEdit

Sycamore's design is based on that of the Damen OPV 2400 design for a 2,400-tonne offshore patrol vessel. The ship is 94 metres (308 ft 5 in) long[1] with a beam of 14.4 metres (47 ft 3 in) and a draught of 3.9 metres (12 ft 10 in).[2] has a standard displacement of 2,400 tonnes (2,400 long tons)[1] and 2,935 t (2,889 long tons) at full load.[2] The ship is powered by two diesel engines driving two shafts.[2] The vessel has a designed top speed of 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph),[1] with an actual max speed of 17.8 knots (33.0 km/h; 20.5 mph) and a range of 5,550 nautical miles (10,280 km; 6,390 mi) at 16.2 knots (30.0 km/h; 18.6 mph).[2]

The RAN classes Sycamore as a "multi-role aircraft training vessel", and the ship is equipped with a hangar and a flight deck, allowing a single helicopter to land. Sycamore is the first ship to support the Australian Defence Force (ADF) designed from the outset to be able to operate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The vessel is fitted with the equipment necessary to operate Boeing Insitu ScanEagle fixed wing and Schiebel Camcopter S-100 rotary wing UAVs.[3] Sycamore is equipped with Terma Scanter radar with a DBHG stabilized antenna and Terma C-Flex for support of the training mission of the vessel.[4] She has a multi-use space, which can be configured to help cope with disasters. Sycamore will operate with two crews of 22 personnel who will maintain the vessel. The ship can accommodate up to 71 ADF personnel overnight.[3]

Construction and careerEdit

A tender was submitted by the Australian government for the construction of an offshore patrol vessel. The Abbott government chose the Damen Group's proposal to build the vessel in Vietnam as they found that no Australian shipbuilder was capable of building the type of ship requested in the tender within the budget and time frame required.[1] Sycamore was constructed by at the 189 shipyard in Haiphong, Vietnam and laid down in 2014.[1][2] The vessel was launched on 30 August 2016.[3][2] The RAN does not own the vessel, it leases Sycamore from the Serco-owned firm DMS Maritime.[1] The vessel has a civilian crew provided by Teekay Australia.[5] Military personnel provide the actual training aboard the vessel.[6] While Sycamore is used primarily as an aviation training ship, the vessel is also used for familiarisation training for new RAN officers, mine warfare and diving support training as well as recovering training torpedoes and missiles and serving as a consort. Sycamore is the RAN's first dedicated training ship since HMAS Jervis Bay was decommissioned in 1994.[3][7]

Sycamore completed sea trials in April 2017.[7][8] She arrived at Sydney on 26 June that year. Sycamore entered service with the RAN on 4 August 2017.[2] In January 2020, Sycamore was deployed to the coast of Victoria in response to the bushfires in the region.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Aussies ship to be built in Vietnam in major contract blow". 29 July 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2017. The 90-metre, 2400-tonne helicopter training vessel will be built at Damen’s Song Cam shipyard in Haiphong City, Vietnam, and will be modelled on the Dutch company’s OPV 2400 platform.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "MV Sycamore". Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d "Flight Deck at Sea" (PDF). Navy News. Department of Defence. 29 June 2017. p. 8, Helicopter Aircrew Training System supplement. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  4. ^ "C-FLEX Patrol Mission System for MATV". Terma. 14 May 2019. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  5. ^ "Teekay Australia Takes Over MV Sycamore". Teekay Australia. 6 September 2017. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Defence tenders for MATV in service support". Australian Defence Force. 13 December 2017. Retrieved 22 April 2017. The Damen-built MATV Sycamore, which is about to be launched in Haiphong, Vietnam, will be a civilian registered, aviation-capable, ocean-going vessel for the delivery of military training and other services to the RAN and other Commonwealth agencies.
  7. ^ a b Richard Tomkins (20 April 2017). "Damen prepares training vessel for Australian navy". United Press International. Retrieved 22 April 2017. Sailing preparations follow the MV Sycamore's successful completion of sea trials and acceptance of the results by representatives of the Australian government, the company announced Thursday.
  8. ^ "'Sycamore' aviation training vessel completes sea trials". Australian Aviation. 24 April 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  9. ^ Crowe, David; Towell, Noel & McMillan, Ashleigh (31 December 2019). "Ships, choppers on the way as ADF joins the bushfire fight". The Age. Retrieved 2 January 2019.