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.
The Bangladesh Coast Guard has recently been expanding its fleet of small craft. A total of 22 Metal Shark Marine 38-foot Defiant-class boats are being delivered from the United States by 2015. Three of the boats were transferred in 2012, 6 were turned over in 2013, and 10 more are due to transfer by the end of this year. Three additional boats are expected in service during 2015. Each of these 38-foot craft were built by the Metal Shark Aluminum Boat Company of Jeanerette, Louisiana. In addition to the Metal Shark craft, Safe Boats International of Port Orchard, Washington, has been working to fulfill orders for 21 of its 25-foot Defender-class boats with final deliveries scheduled over the next 18 months. In 2013 the large 3,000-ton high-endurance cutter Jarvis was retired from the U.S. Coast Guard and transferred to Bangladesh, where she has been renamed the BNS Somudra Joy. The country has also taken delivery of combatants and small craft from the United Kingdom, China, and South Korea.
Recent media reports indicate that Egypt has ordered four of the new Gowind-class corvettes from French shipbuilder DCNS with an option to acquire two additional units at a later date. Several different families of vessels, ranging in size from 1,100 tons to 2,500 tons standard displacement, are available for sale under the Gowind program. Egypt is said to have ordered the largest variant of the class, which is also planned for Malaysian naval service. The French fleet currently operates a single 1,100-ton variant, pictured here, on loan from DCNS through 2015. In French service the vessel can launch and recover a helicopter or unmanned aerial vehicle from its flight deck, as well as operate and recover small boats. Although currently armed only with guns, the ships can also be fitted with surface-to-air and antiship missiles depending on naval requirements and available funding. The first of these new corvettes are expected to begin entering Egyptian naval service in 2017.