The federal government has announced it will acquire new fleets of Australian-built amphibious vehicles and landing craft.
The Morrison government is set to invest up to $800 million to upgrade the ADF's amphibious vehicles and landing craft, as part of the Army Littoral Manoeuvre – Light project, LAND 8710 Phase 1 program.
Two separate fleets are to be procured, with the watercraft designed to provide independent shore-to-shore, ship-to-shore, and over-the-shore capabilities to better manoeuvre and sustain the ADF in littoral and riverine environments.
An Independent Landing Craft is also expected to be delivered to replace the Army’s existing LCM-8 vessels, which according to Defence, would present opportunities for Australian industry in the detailed design, build, maintenance and support elements of the project.
An amphibious vehicle is also set to be built to replace Army’s current LARC-V, offering opportunities for industry in the vehicle’s design, build, maintenance and through-life support phases.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the new capabilities would transport land forces with enhanced speed and protection.
“Today’s announcement delivers on this government’s objectives, set out in the 2020 Force Structure Plan, to enhance the ADF’s amphibious capabilities, especially in Australia’s territorial waters and the near region,” Minister Reynolds said.
“These new vessels, introduced from 2026, will be larger, faster, and better protected to support ADF operations.
“They will allow Defence to quickly and effectively deploy both domestically and to our near region, as well as remain engaged with regional security partners and support humanitarian assistance to our neighbours in the Indo-Pacific."
She added: “We have also seen the importance of the Army water transport capability most recently on Operation Bushfire Assist 19-20, evacuating Australians to safety off beaches and delivering much needed supplies.”
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the government’s investment in these Australian-built fleets demonstrates its commitment to developing the nation's sovereign capability.
“Australian industry involvement will be maximised throughout the design, construction and sustainment phases of this project,” Minister Price said.
“The new and enhanced platforms will use Australian industry’s expertise both during the detailed design and build phases to support the delivery of the Morrison government’s Naval Shipbuilding Plan.
“By taking this approach, the Morrison government is also encouraging potential export opportunities for Australian industry through the design and build of this new capability.”