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UK sets sights on new high-speed
landing craft
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is exploring plans to acquire a new
design of Fast Landing Craft (FLC) to support future amphibious surface
assault operations.
class of up to six vessels is
planned, with the first pair
tentatively scheduled to enter
service in 2014.
Managed by the Defence Equipment
and Support (DE&S) organisation’s
Capital Ships Directorate, the FLC project
calls for a “high-speed landing craft with
payload capacity to transport in-service
amphibious equipment and personnel,
and provide interoperability with Landing
Platform Helicopter (LPH), Landing
Platform Dock (LPD) and Landing Ship
Dock (Auxiliary) LSD (A)”. The latter
comprise the LPH HMS Ocean, the LPDs
HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark, and the
four Bay class LSD (A)s.
Sponsored by the MoD’s Directorate
of Equipment Capability (Air and
Littoral Manoeuvre), the FLC project
is currently in the concept phase, but is PACSCAT image generated using Paramarine ship design software.
planned to transition through its Initial
Gate acquisition milestone in mid-to-late
2009. An industry day, hosted by DE&S Amphibious Task Group Commander, be advantageous to meet the speed
in early October 2008, was used to inform and a form sized to fit within the docking requirement, whilst durability will
and engage potential suppliers as to the facilities of the LPD and LSD (A). also be required for the landing craft
requirement and programme for the FLC Outline performance characteristics operational profile.”
design and build phase. previously associated with FLC suggest a One candidate concept is the Partial
The principle driver for the FLC design able to carry a payload of 55tonnes Air Cushion Supported Catamaran
programme is the Surface Manoeuvre at 25kts in Sea State 0-2 (reducing to (PACSCAT), for which QinetiQ was
Rationalisation programme, which 14kts in Sea State 3-4). 11 Amphibious contracted by the MoD in November
includes an ‘over-the-horizon’ Trials and Training (ATT) Squadron, the 2006 for the design, build, test and
amphibious assault capability to reduce Royal Marines’ own watercraft concept evaluation of a full-scale technical
the vulnerability of capital amphibious development operation evaluation unit, demonstrator craft. Griffon Hovercraft,
platforms from land-based and inshore has provided advice and subject matter working in conjunction with Aluminium
threats. A landing craft significantly faster expertise to ensure that the requirement Shipbuilders Ltd, BMT Nigel Gee and
than legacy watercraft is thus required to is achievable and realistic. BMT Marine Projects, is completing the
optimise the achievement of operational According to the Capital Ships build of the PACSCAT demonstrator
and tactical surprise through speed. Directorate, the FLC project “is currently under subcontract to QinetiQ.
Key performance requirements/ exploring a wide range of innovations The PACSCAT concept, originated by
constraints outlined for FLC include the and [novel and established] hullforms”. John Lewthwaite of Independent Maritime
lift capacity to transport loads up to and These include Surface Effect Ships (SES), Assessment Associates, relies upon partial
including a main battle tank, sufficient hovercraft, catamarans and monohulls. support of the vessel by an air cushion to
speed to give operational flexibility to the It adds: “Lightweight structures will reduce hull resistance. In addition, the hull
16 Warship Technology January 2009
WT_Jan09_p16+17.indd 16 12/23/08 2:22:11 AM
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