Industry partnerships line up to meet Australian landing craft requirements

Leading Australian defence companies have announced new partnerships aimed at addressing the Australian Department of Defence’s (DoD’s) LAND 8710 Phase 1A programme, which calls for the supply and delivery of amphibious landing craft to replace Australian Army’s ageing fleet of LCM-8 landing crafts and LARC-V amphibious vehicles worth around A$800 million.

Austal Australia announced in early May that it is teaming with local defence companies BMT and Raytheon Australia to offer the Australian Independent Littoral Manoeuvre Vessel (ILMV) based on a mature design from BMT and optimized for the Australian environment. If selected, Raytheon Australia will be prime contractor with Austal responsible for constructing the BMT-designed vessel at its Henderson shipyard in Western Australia.

“As one of Australia’s largest shipbuilders with an acknowledged world class operation and decades of Australian Defence Force experience, we have an existing workforce that is trusted to deliver on multiple programs from our Henderson shipyard. Our unique ability to do production design in our shipyard will also minimise risk and cost to the LAND 8710-1A program,” said Austal CEO Paddy Gregg.

Meanwhile, Serco Australia and Civmec announced a joint venture on the opening of the Indo Pacific 2022 exhibition in Sydney on 10 May to compete in LAND 8710 Phase 1A. The new company, called Australian Maritime Alliance (AMA). Under this arrangement, the joint venture will use Serco Australia’s Oboe Littoral Manoeuvre Vessel Medium (LMV-M) design that has been further refined over the past year to meet army requirements.

“With Serco and Civmec’s complementary capabilities and shared community values for realizing the sustained growth of Australia’s Shipbuilding Industry, our alliance is set to deliver proven benefits through uplifting Western Australian industry capabilities, matching Serco’s global shipbuilding expertise and reach with Civmec’s superlative workforce skills, proven technology and infrastructure capacity,” said Serco Defence managing director Clint Thomas.

Under LAND 8710 Phase 1A, the amphibious vessels must be able to transport the army’s current and planned fleet of protected vehicles across various sea conditions and interoperate with the Royal Australian Navy’s Canberra-class landing helicopter docks (LHDs)as well as the Bay-class landing ship HMAS Choules.

The DoD is expected to announce its decision by 2024 with the selected design introduced into service from 2026.

by Jr Ng