Thursday, February 16, 2017

Australia's Land 400 contenders should be amphibious?

Thanks to Jonathan for the link!

via Shepard Media.
We immediately see that Land 400 AFVs face severe impositions, since they are dependent on vulnerable LHDs and landing craft to get ashore. The inclusion of an amphibious capability on these vehicles would have offered far greater flexibility for littoral operations.
BAE Systems and Patria have teamed up for the Australian Army’s Land 400 programme. The AMV35 was loaded onto HMAS Canberra during recent trials. (Australian DoD)

Of note, the USMC is pursuing its Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) project, as it at least recognises the need for littoral forcible entry vehicles.

The fact is that the Australian Army deliberately dismissed this amphibious and expeditionary factor, opting instead for heavily protected vehicles. For example, the AMV35 tips the scales at 30t while the Boxer is even heavier at 35t. For an army that has always conducted 'expeditionary' deployments, the choice of heavier vehicles seems questionable.

Indeed, as the spokesperson explained: 'The ADF prioritised protection for the Land 400 vehicle fleet. This meant no amphibious vehicles would be able to meet the required level of protection. The priority was to "survive ashore" rather than "swim ashore".'

This assumption was not tested by the army via a call for alternative competitive design solutions due to a military off-the-shelf (MOTS) policy that favoured the recycled designs of overseas primes over new domestic, innovative designs.

A decision was clearly made to ignore not only tactical mobility in water, but also manoeuvre operations in the littoral environment (MOLE), a still secret army concept. This will impinge on the service's ability to contribute to amphibious operations, despite the ADF claiming: 'The Australian government's maritime strategy relies upon a joint task force, which is a range of joint capabilities fulfilling a variety of roles to conduct amphibious operations, and not a single platform or vehicle doing all of them.'

The 'Operational Concept Document' (OCD) for the Land 400 Land Combat Vehicle System (LCVS), released in December 2011, states: 'The desired Land 400 LCVS end state will be a future professional, multipurpose combat force equipped with a LCVS integrated into the CAFS [Combined Arms Fighting System] providing enhanced land combat lethality, survivability, situational awareness, close combat mobility and combat power in order to win the land battle over time.'

This is well and good, but does it suit Australia's official Maritime Strategy? Especially considering the geography of Australia's primary operating environment, the ADF requirement to operate in littoral waters and on land within 200km of a coastline.
Story here. 

I agree with the above.  The Australian Army like the Japanese should have built a Marine Corps (as I've long said) and like the Japanese they should be buying AAVs as an interim step.

A partnership with the US Navy/Marine Corps should have been a no-brainer but for some reason the Aussies didn't go that route.

Considering their operating environment its a huge mistake that will probably bite in the future.

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