Home' Defence Technology Review : DTR DEC JAN 2015 Contents 5
DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY REVIEW | ISSUE 05 | DEC/JAN 2015
ADF to retain LARC-V amphibious vehicles
In an apparent show of its technolog-
ical might, China unveiled its latest She-
nyang J-31 stealth fighter at the China
International Aviation & Aerospace Exhi-
bition held 11-16 November.
Bearing an uncanny resemblance to
the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter,
the J-31 is designed predominantly for
carrier-borne combat air operations.
Some reports suggest the J-31 is
scheduled to enter full rate production for
the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air
Force within five years. China is known
to be actively seeking export markets for
In other news, China has repor tedly
put the J-15 Flying Shark carrier-borne
multi-role fighter into serial production.
At least eight production examples of
the J-15 are known to be flying already.
Several advanced J-15 prototypes con-
ducted trials aboard the PLA Navy’s re-
furbished former Soviet Kuznetsov-class
NOTHING LIKE IT – STILL
An underrated but nonetheless vital piece of the ADF’s amphibious capability puzzle, the
LARC-V’s ability to embark on and enter/exit the well decks of all three ADAS ships and bring
troops and supplies through open ocean swells and move directly to an unprepared beach or
transfer point further inland, in all weather and regardless of tide or shoreline conditions is a
capability unmatched by any other ADF platform.
The LARC-V’s seaworthiness enables it to cross the surfline both ways, its considerable size
and mass allowing it to push through 3m breakers on its way back out to sea.
The LARC-V is able to operate organic to the parent ship, where its modest all-up weight and
wheeled configuration are consistent with stowage on the light and heavy vehicle decks of the
Canberra-class and HMAS Choules in whichever unload order the mission calls for, or at the
head of the queue as the first to launch when the well deck is flooded.
Able to deploy over the ship’s ‘steel beach’ and directly into the water, the LARC-V is an
unglamourous but nonetheless significant enabler for both the upper and lower end of the
amphibious mission spectrum.
For amphibious assault and combat-oriented ship-to-objective manoeuvre operations, the
LARC-V provides the commander with the option to insert dismounted light forces at multiple
points along a shoreline or withdraw them out of an area and redistribute them elsewhere.
Being amphibious, the LARC-V is able to access areas that would otherwise prove impassable
to land vehicles, or when environmental and/or tactical conditions preclude the use of
High ground clearance (600mm) and large low pressure balloon tyres enable the LARC-V to
traverse sand or coral beaches and drive inland on unimproved roads or tracks. Beach and surf
zone salvage/recovery and diving support are also LARC-V tasks.
At the lower end of the capability spectrum, the LARC-V’s 4,536kg payload and generous
cargo deck allow it to deliver meaningful quantities of aid or supplies during peace support,
disaster relief and humanitarian assistance operations without the need for landing craft,
additional wheeled transport assets, ports or prepared beaches.
The Australian Department of De-
fence has confirmed that the Austral-
ian Army’s near 50-year-old Lighter
Amphibious Resupply Cargo – 5 ton
(LARC-V) amphibious vehicles will re-
main in service for another decade at
In response to enquiries by DTR, a
Defence spokesperson said that the
LARC-V will be retained in service until
2026, ensuring that a small but impor-
tant element of the Australian Defence
Force’s (ADF) Amphibious Deployment
and Sustainment (ADAS) concept is
kept in place.
The decision follows a LARC-V life-
of-type-extension (LOTE) study com-
missioned by the Defence Materiel
Organisation, Army Marine and under-
taken by BMT Design & Technology
out of Melbourne during 2013.
The study encompassed engineering,
cost and risk analysis of the LARC-V,
including a reliability assessment of all
systems in consideration of changes
to inspection, preventative mainte-
nance and repair requirements over the
course of any LOTE. Costings of the
various LOTE options available were
As a result of the study, which illus-
trated the robust and effective main-
tenance systems already in place, and
based on additional information availa-
ble, “Defence has agreed to a nine-year
LOTE for the LARC-V fleet”. This would
presumably see refurbished vehicles
re-enter service post-LOTE around
The spokesperson told DTR that
several modifications to the LARC-V
platform were identified in the LOTE
study and these have now been planned
and funded. Commercial-in-confidence
restrictions prevented disclosure of fur-
Army will review the LOT for LARC-V
VITAL PIECE OF THE
LARC-Vs bring 1 RAR troops ashore during an
amphibious exercise in the South Pacific.
New Chinese stealth fighter off the leash
again in 2021, at which time a decision
on whether to retire, or further extend
the life of the fleet, will be made.
Australia’s LARC-V fleet has already
been the subject of a LOTE in the late
1990s – it also designed to extend ef-
BELOW: A LARC-V negotiates the steel beach in HMAS Choules during Exercise Talisman
fective service life by about a decade.
Multiple LARC-Vs are able to embark
from the principle ADAS ships – the
two Canberra-class amphibious as-
sault ships and the sealift ship HMAS
– Ian Bostock
China’s new J-31 stealth fighter in a
flyover during the airshow.
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