The MV Sycamore is a vessel built to support the Royal Australian Navy by Netherlands shipbuilders The Damen Group. She was built in Damen’s shipyard in Vietnam. The ship will be operated for the Royal Australian Navy by DMS Maritime.
The Sycamore’s design is based on that of the Damen OPV 2400 design, a design for a 2400 tonne “Offshore Patrol Vessel”. The RAN classes the Sycamore as a “multi-role aircraft training vessel”, and she is equipped with a flight deck, allowing a single helicopter to land. “Sycamore” is equipped with a Terma Scanter Radar with a DBHG stabilized antenna and Terma C-Flex for support of the training mission of the vessel.
Sycamore is the first ship to support the Australian Defence Force (ADF) designed from the outset to be able to operate unmanned aerial vehicles. She is fitted with the equipment necessary to operate Boeing Insitu ScanEagle fixed wing and Schiebel Camcopter S-100 rotary wing UAVs.
She is 94 metres (308 ft) long. In 2014, her design called for her to be capable of 23 knots (43 km/h). She has a multi-use space, which can be configured to help cope with disasters.
Sycamore will operate with a crew of 22 personnel, most of whom will be civilian sailors. The ship can accommodate up to 71 ADF personnel overnight.
The RAN will not own the vessel, they will lease it from the owner, DMS Maritime. The vessel has a civilian crew provided by Teekay Australia. Military personnel will provide the actual training. While Sycamore will primarily be used as an aviation training ship, the vessel will also be 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. She will be the RAN’s first dedicated training ship since HMAS Jervis Bay was decommissioned in 1994.
Sycamore completed sea trials in April 2017. She arrived at Sydney on 26 June that year. She is scheduled to enter service in January 2018.