Construction of a prototype for a new class of military landing craft, specifically designed for the Australian Army, is underway in Western Australia. Conceived, funded and led by Australian prime contractor Birdon, the project brings together a world class team of wholly Australian owned companies. The vessel is jointly designed by Birdon and multi-award winning naval architects Incat Crowther, and is being constructed in Henderson at industry leading Western Australian ship builder, Echo Marine Group.
When completed, it will be a full-scale operational proof of concept for Birdon’s proposed Littoral Manoeuvre Vessel – Medium (LMV-M), offered under the LAND8710 Phase 1A RFT, and will deliver capability beyond any other landing craft of its size currently in service or advertised globally. The vessel has been purpose designed as an advanced, independent, long range landing craft with deep reach, tremendous capacity and the robustness and resilience to adapt to future needs. Crew habitability, endurance and protection are key design features.
Birdon’s chief executive officer, Jamie Bruce said: “This new class of landing craft is designed to operate in the Indo-Pacific and to meet the wide-ranging requirements of the Australian Army now and in the future. We are pleased to be partnering with Henderson-based Echo Marine Group and utilising its highly skilled workforce for the construction of this vessel. As a privately owned Australian company with international operations, championing the crucial role of small and medium enterprises in Australian manufacturing and supply chains is core to our offering. This self-funded initiative is supporting new jobs in Western Australia right throughout the supply chain. Made with Australian steel and at Birdon’s own cost and risk, this investment demonstrates the high confidence we have in our solution and our commitment to provide the Australian Army with a proven vessel capable of operating in littoral, riverine and open ocean environments. The review and refinement of our solution will utilise a real vessel, with the benefit of a streamlined build program and a reduction in technical risk across the design, build and support phases. This prototype risk reduction approach has been central to our success in our programs for the US Army and US Coast Guard,” Bruce said.
Birdon has a proven history of export success and was recently awarded a US $1.187 billion contract to design and build 27 Waterways Commerce Cutters for the US Coast Guard. The advanced hull on the landing craft prototype under construction at Henderson in Western Australia was designed by the same team designing the vessels for the US Coast Guard.
It’s heartening that some progress is actually happening on Land 8710 and hats off to Biden’s for taking the bit between its teeth. I’m disappointed it will be built in WA but as the Governments (Both Liberal and Labour ) have thrown all our ship building eggs in the one basket we don’t have much choice.
If only Birdon, could build a submarine, maybe Federal could be prized open.
Lets hope they turn out better than the new, disasterous Birdon designed Manly ferries. These proved to be unreliable and not up to the task required:
I’m still a bit confused with the Parameters of Land8710. The project was originally to replace the LCM 8 but the brief describes a vessel far larger and more capable than the LCM or even the LCH already in service.The LMV seems a perfect fit to replace the LCH but seems a bit oversized to replace the LCM.Is the project to replace both with one vessel . If this is the case, Can the LMV replace all the duties of both vessels or a different Project be initiated to fulfil the lesser roles currently carried out by the LCM.Also will they be Army (I believe the first LCH was originally Army Crewed) or Navy. It just seems to me ( and I freely Admit that my expertise in amphibious warfare is limited ) that the LMV is a seriously major upgrade on the LCH but will lose some of the capabilities of the LCM.
As far as I’m aware they are replacements for the LCM8s. Yes they are definitely larger – about 20% overall, from memory – and the intention is for them to operate independently, if necessary, in the littoral environment.