$32M LANDS CRAFT DEAL
August 05, 2002
Two of the RAN's 'can-do' ships, Manoora and Kanimbla are to get new landing
craft so they can do their jobs even better.
Last month the ADF and ADI Limited signed a $32.73 million contract for
the production in Newcastle of six of the craft, dubbed "watercraft".
A separate $10.66 million contract will see ADI provide in-service support
for the new vessels for 15 years.
Work will start in February with the delivery of the first vessel late in
The craft will replace the Army-manned LCM8s currently in service with the
Details of the contract and data on the six vessels came in reports from
the Minister for Defence, Senator Robert Hill and from ADI Limited.
Senator Hill said all six should be handed over by April 2005.
Designated for the Army, the craft will be built in aluminium and powered
by two diesel engines driving water jets.
He said the craft would enable the Army to deploy greater amounts of tanks,
vehicles, soldiers and supplies from ship to beach in a significantly shorter
time than is currently possible with the existing capability.
In particular the watercraft will improve the discharge rate of unloading
cargo by more than 30 per cent.
They will be carried on the decks of Manoora and Kanimbla, he said.
The craft will be based in Townsville at the 10 Force Support Battalion
when not on the warships.
"This project is expected to create 40 jobs in the Newcastle area,"
the Minister said.
"When they are introduced into service they will be maintained in Townsville
by ADI Limited through a sub-contract with a local company.
"This will create additional employment in the area.
"The first watercraft is planned to undergo extensive trials late next
year with the final craft expected to be finished in 2005.
"I am pleased the negotiations on the contract have been completed
and that work will commence on building the lightweight vessels following
the completion of the preliminary design period."
Senator Hill said the craft will primarily be used in the Asia-Pacific region,
particularly in coastal areas around northern Australia, offshore islands,
territories and within the south Pacific.
He said the building of the craft underlined the Government's determination
to implement its Defence White Paper commitments.
The watercraft contract signing also comes as a 'shortlist' of builders
for the RAN's new patrol boats is finalised.
ADI Limited said the watercraft contract will help ADI maintain some of
the prime contracting and naval ship building capabilities established in
Newcastle for the construction of six Huon class coastal minehunters for
Designed by ADI's engineering specialists in Newcastle and Sydney, the craft
will feature innovative concepts such as an interface pontoon and bow and
This will provide two-lane drive-through capability for more efficient vehicle
The pontoon allows safe and dry transfer of troops and vehicles directly
on to the watercraft without the need to lift heavy vehicles by crane.
ADI's director of major programs business group, Mr Philippe Odouard, said
the winning of the project was a reflection of the company's deep understanding
of the RAN's operational and performance requirements and in-service support
"As with our project management of the Huon class minehunters, ADI
will actively partner the Commonwealth to ensure the new watercraft meet
all specific requirements," he said.
"The project will also allow ADI to continue its commitment to regional
"It will create 40 new production jobs at ADI's Newcastle facility.
"The in-service support will be managed in Newcastle and carried out
in Townsville by Rosshaven Marine and other local marine businesses.
"The in-service support model established for the minehunters will
be further enhanced by the project," he said.
The first five minehunters have been commissioned and the sixth is undergoing
ADI said it has proposed building Australia's new patrol boat fleet in Newcastle
using the strategy, which produced the worlds, most advanced minehunting
When deployed the RAN's trio of amphibious transport ships, Manoora, Kanimbla
and Tobruk usually carry a pair of landing craft on the foredeck.
They are brought on board by cranes with a capacity of about 70 tonnes.
Because the present LCM8s and the future 'watercraft' are the Army's responsibility,
the RAN's amphibious transports carry composite Navy/Army ship's companies.
By Graham Davis