The first wave-piercing catamaran-hulled ship to enter naval service, the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) Jervis Bay, was chartered this April for two years and is operated by two mixed crews of 15 naval and 5 Australian Army personnel. The 900-ton, 284-foot, waterjet-driven craft is able to carry up to 500 troops and has a range of 1,500 nautical miles at 40 knots with a payload of 380 tons. The vehicle deck, with two access doors, as seen in this starboard quarter view, can accommodate the equivalent of 200 automobiles. Seen here just after being handed over on 17 May by her builder, Incat Tasmania, the Jervis Bay's only alteration for military service, aside from a coat of gray paint, was an increase in fuel capacity. The RAN also has reactivated the 503-ton landing craft Wewak from reserve, and both craft are based at Darwin to deal with contingencies involving insurrection or natural disaster in areas to the north of Australia.
By A. D. Baker III