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Australia Details New Amphibious Ships (Feb. 24)

The following is excerpted from a Feb. 24 speech by Australian Defence Minister Robert Hill. Ths full text is posted in our Word for Word section:

The Government also intends that the major ship construction and upgrade programs announced in the DCR provide a major boost to the local shipbuilding industry.

Defence has settled in principle the capability requirements for the new amphibious support ships. The two ships will replace replace HMAS Tobruk and one of our LPAs. They will need to be able to embark, sustain and transport by sea an amphibious combined arms battle group together with their equipment and supplies. The force needs to be able to train and rest while en route to operations. The ships will need the capability to carry and tactically deploy several hundred vehicles, including armor, plus trailors. They will also need the ability to airlift simultaneously an air mobile combat team from 12 helicopter launch spots between the two ships.

They will each have hangar space for at least 12 helicopters and at least four conventional landing craft that are capable of carrying our new tanks. The ships must also be capable of providing the necessary command, control and communications to direct the battle group’s amphibious landing and follow-on forces. Of course, given the prospect of Australian and US forces continuing to work closely in the future, the ships will need to be interoperable with our coalition partners.

Defence has issued a request for information to two international ship builders – the Spanish company IZAR and the French conglomerate Armaris – concerning their respective new LHD designs. This will help inform the decision on a preferred design. Interestingly both types were identified by ADM in its latest edition.

While the ship will be based on an overseas design, the translation of that design into a ship tailored to suit Australia’s challenging environment will require a good deal of local knowledge and experience. Many of the ship’s system components will be derived from local industries to ensure whole-of-life support for this capability.

Four Australian ship building companies, ADI, Tenix, ASC and Forgacs have been asked to assist the Government with its design evaluation.

Australia Seeks Foreign Help for Amphibious Ships