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.