August 9, 2004

Australia seeks amphibious ship study

French shipbuilding group Armaris (a joint-venture of DCN and Thales) and Spanish shipbuilding group IZAR will be asked to participate in a funded risk reduction and design study for the Royal Australian Navy's two new amphibious vessels, Defence Minister Senator Robert Hill announced today.

Senator Hill said the study was a further step towards the selection of a new amphibious ship design to replace HMAS Tobruk and one of the Landing Platform Amphibious Ships.

The A$2 billion (US$1.4 billion) project will equip the Australian Defence Force with two new amphibious ships capable of performing a range of tasks, including regional disaster relief, delivering humanitarian aid, support for peace operations, and assistance to policing or military operations.

A preliminary design assessment in consultation with the Australian shipbuilding industry confirmed that basic designs of Armaris and IZAR broadly meet the ADF's capability requirements for the new amphibious ships, Senator Hill said.

The new study will "assist Defence to further assess the suitability of the companies' amphibious ship designs for the ADF's capability requirements, including the capability, cost, schedule, technical risk and industry issues relating to the construction of amphibious ships in Australia," he said.

As part of the study, Armaris will be asked to provide detailed information relating to three variants of its Mistral design: the military off-the-shelf design which is currently in production; a modified design providing for increased troop capacity; and an option based on the original extended Mistral design.

IZAR will be asked to provide detailed information relating to its Strategic Projection Ship design.

The outcomes of the study "will inform the selection of a preferred designer for the amphibious ships in the first half of next year."

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