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Go ahead given to build amphibious watercraft.

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MEDIA RELEASE Senator the Hon. Robert Hill Minister for Defence Leader of the Government in the Senate


17 Jul 2002 MIN 355/02



Minister for Defence Robert Hill has today announced the signing of a $32.73 million contract with Newcastle shipbuilder ADI Limited for the design and construction of six Amphibious Watercraft for the Australian Army.

Senator Hill also announced that a contract for $10.66 million has been concurrently signed with ADI Limited to provide 15 years through life support for the watercraft.

These lightweight vessels, to be built from aluminum and powered by two diesel engines and waterjet propulsion, will build on the total amphibious capability of the Australian Defence Force.

Senator Hill said the new watercraft will 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 new watercraft will improve the discharge rate of unloading cargo by more than 30 per cent.

Senator Hill said the new watercraft will be carried on the decks of the Royal Australian Navy ships HMAS MANOORA and HMAS KANIMBLA. The craft will be based in Townsville at the 10 Force Support Battalion at all other times.

"This project is expected to create 40 jobs in the Newcastle area," Senator Hill said.

"When the watercraft are introduced into service they will be maintained in Townsville by ADI Limited through a sub-contract with a local company, which 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 a Preliminary Design Review.

"The new watercraft will primarily be used in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly in coastal areas around northern Australia, offshore islands, territories and within the South Pacific."

Senator Hill said today’s announcement follows recent announcements for the major upgrade of the

M113 fighting vehicle for the Army, the go ahead for the Bushmaster vehicle contract for the Army, the development phase of the new Joint Strike Fighter and the shortlist for patrol boats for the Royal Australian Navy.

He said that the new watercraft underlines the Government’s determination to implement its Defence White Paper commitments to improve the capability of the Australian Army.

Picture Editors: Stills of similar watercraft are available on the Defence website select keyword LCM8

Media Contact:

Minister’s office Sascha Meldrum 08 82377920 or 0409201126

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