RNZN boosts littoral capabilities with new LMCs

The Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) has introduced three new 12.5 metre Littoral Manoeuvre Crafts (LMCs) to enhance the operational capabilities of its Littoral Warfare Force, the service announced in late October.

The new LMCs, built by Hobart-based Sentinel Boats, tare the first of their kind to join the RNZN fleet and will be deployed by HMNZS Matataua,

“These vessels will allow us to go further and faster with more personnel, and once inserted we can do so much more,” said Commander Trevor Leslie, HMNZS Matataua’s commanding officer.

Cmdr Leslie noted that the LMCs will serve as “a vital link between coastal operations and tactical insertion of diving and hydrographic specialists, as well as providing a reconnaissance option”, as well as deployed for international missions.

“In that regard they’re a real game-changer for Matataua,” Cmdr Leslie was quoted as saying.

According to the RNZN, the LMC hulls are constructed out of a polyethylene derivative as opposed to traditional fibreglass or aluminium. The service claims that this approach enhances the durability and impact resistance of the vessels, while contributing to a lower magnetic and acoustic signature.

Propulsion centres on twin Cummins 550hp diesel engines coupled with HamiltonJet waterjets, enabling the LMCs to attain top speeds in excess of 40 knots and a maximum range of over 150 nautical miles at full load.

The RNZN noted that the LMCs will be able to carry a range of personnel and equipment, such as an infantry section of 10 fully equipped and armed soldiers or hydrographic survey operators with autonomous underwater vehicles.

The service added that while the LMCs will initially be operated from shore-based facilities, they will eventually be able to be deployed from the multi-role offshore support vessel  HMNZS Manawanui depending on operational requirements.

by Jr Ng