Australia has begun receiving the first of 12 LCM-1E landing craft planned for its growing amphibious fleet. These 76-foot landing craft have a beam of 21 feet and are being built in Spain by Navantia’s Puerto Real shipyard. The LCM-1Es are fitted with twin diesel engines and dual waterjets that power the craft to a maximum range of 220 miles at a top speed of 22 knots when light, or 13.5 knots when fully loaded. A crew of up to four sailors operate the LCMs, which can carry either a single M-1A1 main battle tank, six Hummer-sized vehicles, or 170 personnel. All of the new landing craft are expected to be operational by 2015 for use on board Australia’s two 27,000-ton Canberra-class large-deck amphibious-assault ships, HMAS Canberra and Adelaide, which are also due for delivery by late 2015.
By Eric Wertheim