Two shipbuilders have expressed interest in the Australian Army’s project to develop and field new amphibious vehicles that will operate from the Australian Navy amphibious ships.
Austal Australia said it would submit a proposal to design, build and sustain the Australian Army’s next generation of littoral maneuver capability under the LAND 8710 (Phase 1) project.
The project includes the development of a new amphibious vehicle (AV) to replace the Army’s lighter amphibious resupply cargo 5 ton vehicle (LARC-V), and independent landing craft (ILC) to replace the current landing craft mechanized (LCM-8) vessels.
Navantia Australia already has a design that it is ready to offer for the project. The company unveiled it at the Land Forces expo taking place in New South Wales between June 1 and 3.
Navantia said the Kodal 75S (Kodal translates to “Crocodile” in Torres Strait Islander language Merriam Mer) is capable of operating in unison with Royal Australian Navy LHD/LPD amphibious task groups, adding it is based off a proven design. The company also appears to have a design of the amphibious vehicle (dubbed Platypus) ready for the project.
Australia launched the tender for the replacement of LARC-V and LCM-8 in February 2021. It plans to invest up to A$800 million to acquire the new fleets of amphibious vehicles and landing craft.
It is worth noting that engineering consultancy company BMT Defence and Security introduced its Caimen 90 craft as a contender for the Land 8710 program in 2019.
The new vehicles and vessels are proposed for introduction from 2026.
“Austal is Australia’s proven defense prime contractor that has designed, constructed and sustained multiple naval shipbuilding programs for Australia, and export markets around the world, for more than 20 years,” Austal Limited CEO Paddy Gregg said at the Land Forces 2021 Defence Exhibition in Brisbane.
“Drawing upon this local strength in defense capability, including Australia’s largest team of naval architects, Austal is confident of offering an exceptional new littoral maneuver capability for the Australian Army that may be relied upon throughout its working life.”