HMAS Balikpapan during a beach landing in the Comoro district of Timor-Leste while in service with the RAN. The vessel, along with two other LCHs, is to be acquired by the Philippines. Source: Commonwealth of Australia
- Australia and the Philippines are finalising the sale of three decommissioned RAN landing craft to the Philippines
- The acquisition will bolster the Philippine Navy's HADR capabilities
The vessels, formerly known as HMAS Wewak (L 130), HMAS Betano (L 133), and HMAS Balikpapan (L 126), were retired from RAN service in December 2012. Two other retired ships of the class, the former HMAS Brunei (L 127) and HMAS Tarakan (L 129), were donated to the Philippines government and recommissioned as BRP Ivatan (AT298) and BRP Batak (AT299) respectively in July 2015.
In his annual state of the nation address delivered on 27 July 2015, Philippines president Benigno Aquino reiterated his wish for the Philippine Navy (PN) to operate three more of the 45 m LCHs and indicated that his administration was moving ahead with the necessary paperwork for the transfer, although it was not immediately clear at that time if the vessels would be donated or sold by the Australian government.
"Defence can confirm that these are acquisitions", a DoD spokesperson told IHS Jane's on 28 October. However, the DoD has not given further details on the acquisition, including the contract value or the expected date of completion.
According to IHS Jane's Amphibious and Special Forces , the LCH has a military lift capacity for three medium tanks or equivalent and a range of 3,000 n miles at 10 kt. Each landing craft can accommodate 13 crew including two officers. While in RAN service, the vessels were each equipped with two 12.7 mm machine guns.
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