Naval Warfare

Landing Craft Medium Prototype Visited by Australian Army Vessel Commanders

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Landing Craft Medium Prototype Visited by Australian Army Vessel Commanders

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Landing Craft Medium Prototype Visited by Australian Army Vessel Commanders
Landing Craft Medium Prototype Visited by Australian Army Vessel Commanders

Australian Army is again preparing to take to the water as a force optimised for littoral operations. The Littoral Manoeuvre Program, established in response to the Australian Defence Strategic Review, is advancing Army’s ability to deploy and sustain major combat units across the Indo-Pacific region by accelerating the delivery of Army’s new fleet of littoral vessels. The program will ensure Army has a workforce trained to operate the expanded fleet. Landing craft medium will come into service in 2027 and landing craft heavy from 2028. The first six officers selected for the Accelerated Maritime Officer course began training alongside Navy this month. They will undertake 18 months of training, with nine months spent alongside in either Sydney or Perth, and then nine months at sea gaining endorsement of their skills from Navy.

The officers recently toured the Henderson Shipyard facilities and saw a prototype of one of the new vessels. One of them, Captain Gemma Chmielewski said, “The experience would be a first in her Army career. We’ve been selected to be among the first that will crew and command these vessels. When I signed up, this wasn’t on the cards, so it’s incredible things are moving so quickly. I know we’re all excited to be involved with a program in its early stages – to be front and centre for Army’s evolution in this space.”

Army's first vessel commanders meet industry representatives at the Henderson Shipyard facilities in Western Australia, following the announcement that Austal will construct the landing craft medium.
Army’s first vessel commanders meet industry representatives at the Henderson Shipyard facilities in Western Australia, following the announcement that Austal will construct the landing craft medium. (Photo by Australian Government Department of Defence)

Head Land Capability Major General Richard Vagg said,“Army had a long history of littoral manoeuvre operations. Army has been operating in the littoral environment since before Gallipoli and these vessels are the next step in Army’s transformation for littoral manoeuvre operations by sea, land and air. They will significantly advance our ability to conduct operations that influence our northern approach, support our regional partners and protect our national interests. Our people look forward to working closely with our Navy counterparts to build their maritime skills.”

Landing craft medium, capable of sailing 500 nautical miles, will be designed to carry one Abrams tank, or one Redback infantry fighting vehicle, or four HIMARS launchers. Landing craft heavy, capable of sailing 2500 nautical miles, will be designed to carry six Abrams tanks, or 11 Redback IFVs or 26 HIMARS launchers. They will eventually be complemented by amphibious vehicles and close support craft to deploy and sustain land forces to beach landing sites or ports in conjunction with other ADF air and maritime assets. Army’s littoral capability will ensure it continues to play a vital role in responding to strategic challenges, and enhance Australia’s capacity to conduct military partner engagement, rapid assistance and humanitarian and disaster relief operations in the region.

Army's first vessel commanders tour the Henderson Shipyard facilities in Western Australia to view a prototype of Army's future Landing craft - medium.
Army’s first vessel commanders tour the Henderson Shipyard facilities in Western Australia to view a prototype of Army’s future Landing craft – medium. (Photo by Australian Government Department of Defence)

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