Thursday, January 29, 2015

Australia to give 2 LCHs to Philippine Navy

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 29): Australia to give 2 LCHs to Philippine Navy

Australia announced that it will donate two LCH (landing craft, heavy) along with a batch of spareparts to the Philippine Navy (PN).

These ships are recently decommissioned from the Royal Australian Navy. These are the HMAS Tarakan and HMAS Brunei, Australian Minister for Defense Kevin Andrew said Thursday.

He added two ships will be delivered to the PN after being refurbished with new safety and navigation equipment.

“I expect the vessels will be refitted and ready for hand over in May 2015,” Andrews said.

Once in service at the PN, these ships will provide additional intra-theater sealift capability.

A lack of sealift capability hampered efforts to assist Philippines’ coastal areas devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in 2013.

“The landing craft will greatly improve the Philippines’ ability to respond to natural disasters by enabling heavy equipment and large amounts of aid to be moved to affected areas,” Andrews said.

The two LCHs were decommissioned from Australian service at a ceremony in Cairns last Nov. 19, 2014.

The Philippines is also considering whether to purchase the remaining three LCHs of the RAN. These ships are the HMAS Wewak, HMAS Betano and HMAS Balikpapan that were decommissioned from the Royal Australian Navy in 2012.

LCHs are an extremely versatile vessel, capable of moving large amounts of cargo, personnel and equipment from larger ships to shore.

A very shallow draft (two meters) allows these ships to deliver personnel and equipment to areas otherwise unreachable especially during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations (HADR).

It is an all-welded twin-screw vessel, able to trans-ship cargo and supplies from ships lying offshore to water terminals or across the beach.

Maximum cargo load is governed by the load-fuel balance and varies between 140 and 180 tons.

A typical load of 175 ton gives the LCHs a range of 1,300 nautical miles, increasing to 2,280 nautical miles for a load of 150 tons.

Up to 5 shipping containers with HADR supplies and equipment can also be embarked.

LCHs have a draft of two meters, length of 44.5 meters, beam of 10.1 meters and displacement of 364 tons.

It has a speed of 10 to 13 knots and a range of 3,000 nautical miles and a crew of 15.

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