Navantia Australia has released its design concepts for Army’s Project LAND 8710 Phase 1 CE1 and CE2 next generation amphibious vehicle to replace the venerable LARC-V and LCM-8 to boost the ADF’s capability to move equipment and troops from ship to shore.
The 1960s vintage LARC (Lighter, Amphibious, Resupply Cargo) is perhaps Army’s oldest platform, a successful and effective design which has simply reached end of life. Navantia Australia’s proposed replacement is called Platypus, the product of 1000 hours of design work since Defence called for industry proposals in February.
Army is initially looking for 15-20 vehicles, and Navantia Australia stresses its design – which strongly resembles the LARC-V but has a range of advanced features – is provisional, as Defence hasn’t yet released full desired specifications.
Navantia Australia and Rheinmetall Defence Australia signed a Memorandum of Understanding on June 1 to collaborate on the Platypus which, they say will provide the Australian Army the world’s toughest and most capable amphibious vehicle, designed, built, and sustained in Australia.
Despite its similar looks, Platypus has 40 per cent larger cargo capacity, an on-board crane, and twin diesel engines which give it a top speed of 80km/h on the road and 15 knots in the water. It also has retractable wheels and fairings to improve in-water performance.
“We are excited to collaborate with Rheinmetall on the LAND 8710 Phase 1 CE2 program,” Navantia Australia Managing Director Alfonso García-Valdés said in a June 1 release. “When we were considering partners for the LAND 8710 program, Rheinmetall was the obvious choice. Their land based expertise married with our in-depth maritime experience, will bring the best of Australia’s engineers together to develop this new capability for Australia.
Managing Director of Rheinmetall Defence Australia, Gary Stewart added, “We look forward to working alongside Navantia Australia to develop an amphibious logistics capability that will meet the requirements of the Australian Defence Force and has export potential.”
Navantia has also designed a range of new Army landing craft that are intended to augment the Navy’s 12 in-service Navantia 65-tonne capacity LLC landing craft, delivering increased cargo capacity for amphibious and littoral operations.
Known as the Kodal class – the Torres Strait indigenous word for Crocodile – the new landing craft are based on the LLC’s architecture, range from 75 tonnes to 90 tonnes capacity, and include conventional stern wheelhouses or side-wheel houses for stern loading and drive-through capability, and can be scaled up to more than 120 tonnes if required.