Home' Defence Technology Review : DTR SEP 2016 Contents 5
DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY REVIEW | ISSUE 24 | SEP 2016
The idea might not be as random as it
first sounds. The Royal Australian Navy’s
Canberra-class landing helicopter dock
(LHD) amphibious assault ships have
enormous capacity and can embark
in excess of 1,000 combat troops as
standard but have limited means to land
across a beach and transport them a dis-
tance inland toward an objective.
The Army’s ancient Lighter Amphibi-
ous Resupply Cargo – 5 ton (LARC-V)
are certainly good swimmers and highly
useful in transferring cargo and troops
ashore but they are slow, soft-skinned
and will not likely remain in service much
beyond 2026 barring yet another life-of-
The LARC-V is also not available in
adequate numbers to fulfil a dedicated
troop transport function.
During Exercise Rim of the Pacific
(RIMPAC) 2016 the LHD HMAS Can-
berra demonstrated compatibility with
the US Marine Corps’ (USMC) AAV7A1
by embarking three vehicles via its flood-
ed well dock and loading them onto the
heavy vehicle deck.
The AAV7A1 is the USMC’s principle
means of transporting an assault force
across a shoreline from the well docks
of amphibious assault ships, their ar-
mour and tracked configuration enabling
movement of troops and cargo to and
AAVs for the ADF?
through hostile territory, although the
type’s protection against modern threats,
particularly improvised explosive devic-
es, has been found wanting in recent
The AAV7A1 is able to carry 21
troops in addition to the three-man
crew or 4,500kg or cargo in the rear
Whilst DTR understands that Defence
currently has no formal plans to field an
AAV capability, should the Australian De-
fence Force (ADF) seek to acquire AAVs
it would have the option of doing so via
the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS)
route or as new-build machines from
BAE Systems, the company last month
restar ting its AAV7A1 production line to
fulfil a 2016 order from the Japanese
Ministry of Defence.
As the original equipment manufac-
turer of the AAV, BAE Systems will sup-
ply Japan with new AAV7A1 Reliability,
Availability and Maintainability/Rebuild
to Standard (RAM/RS) vehicles, plus
training aids and tools and test equip-
ment to support end user maintenance.
According to the company’s 7 April re-
lease, the AAV7A1 RAM/RS variant fea-
tures a more powerful engine and drive-
train, as well as an upgraded suspension
system. This enables the new vehicle to
meet or exceed original AAV7A1 per-
formance. The variant also provides im-
proved mobility, command, control and
repair capabilities while transporting
troops and cargo from ship-to-shore.
First deliveries to the Japanese Ground
Self-Defense Force are planned for Au-
gust 2017, with the last of 30 vehicles
delivered by the end of that year.
An FMS buy of the AAV7A1 by Aus-
tralia might involve purchase of some of
the vehicles currently being upgraded
for the USMC by SAIC under the 396-
unit AAV Survivability Upgrade Program.
However, should the ADF require an
AAV capability in the short term, upgrad-
ed USMC AAV7A1s are not likely to be
made available to export customers be-
fore 2019, when the type achieves initial
In terms of numbers, 24 AAVs would
provide the Australian Army with suf-
ficient platforms for a company group
lift (200+ troops), training and attrition
Acquisition cost for the ADF would be
similarly modest, and probably no more
than the US$149 million (AUD$193 mil-
lion) Japan will pay for its 30-strong AAV
– Ian Bostock
Might armoured amphibious assault vehicles (AAV) be
on the Australian Army’s shopping list?
ABOVE: A USMC AAV7A1 from USS San
Diego ‘swims’ through the well dock of
HMAS Canberra off the coast of Hawaii
during Exercise RIMPAC 2016. Image: ADF
Click here to
to 2030 Special
Interoperability trials held during
Exercise Rim of the Pacific 2016 have
demonstrated the ability of Austral-
ia’s Canberra-class landing helicopter
dock (LHD) amphibious assault ship
to accommodate a United States Navy
(USN) landing craft air cushion (LCAC).
Well sort of.
Held during mid-July, the trials saw
an LCAC from the amphibious transport
dock ship USS San Diego enter the well
dock of HMAS Canberra off the coast of
According to Defence, HMAS Can-
berra’s deeper well dock initially made it
more difficult for the LCAC to reverse.
This was resolved, according to
Western Australian-based firm
Barrett Communications has been
contracted to supply its man-pack radios
into the defence force of a new East Af-
Barrett will provide its PRC-2090 high
frequency (HF) Tactical Manpack pack-
age, which has as its core a fully featured
PRC-2090 tactical HF transceiver.
Designed for operations in demand-
ing environments, the ruggedised PRC-
2090 complies with MIL-STD 810G for
shock and vibration, is immersible to
a depth of 1m and can be operated in
extremes of temperature from –40° to
The PRC-2090 HF Tactical Man-
pack Package is intended for extended
embarked USN senior deck assessor
Chief Warrant Officer Anthony Diaz, by
ensuring that the “well dock stayed dry
and at the correct angle”.
“We achieved that by adjusting the trim
of the ship, and bringing the ship up to a
higher speed,” he said.
However, whilst video footage (em-
bedded in this story) shows the ship’s
16.8m dock accommodate the 14.3m
wide LCAC with adequate margin to port
and starboard the dock’s fixed centreline
LCAC fits into LHD, but...
Barrett to supply manpack radios into Africa
BELOW: A USN LCAC approaches the
stern of HMAS Canberra, and is about to
reach the furthest point into the well dock
as it nears the centreline baffle (inset).
baffle prevents the LCAC from mating up
with the ship’s steel beach. It is unclear,
therefore, how vehicles and other cargo
would load/unload from the tank deck
onto the LCAC.
DTR understands that the LHD’s
centreline baffle is essentially a perma-
nent structure and not intended to be
It is also not certain whether vehicles
and cargo can be loaded/unloaded onto
the LCAC when the dock is ‘dry’, al-
though this would likely require a portion
of the LCAC to be rear of the stern gate/
dock in a half-in/half-out fashion in order
to provide clearance to lower the craft’s
– Staff Reporters
portable field operations providing the
tactical user with deployable and secure
communications with remote sited com-
mand locations, and includes all neces-
sary antennas, smart battery and back-
pack carrying system.
The PRC-2090 Manpacks will be used
for both voice and data via Barrett’s Clo-
ver modems. In-country configuration,
operator and maintenance training will
be provided to enable the customer to
support the capability in service.
– Staff Reporters
The PRC-2090 HF Tactical Manpack radio.
Image: Barrett Communications
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