Austal has confirmed plans to submit a proposal for the Australian Department of Defence’s (DoD) $800m LAND 8710 Phase 1 programme.

The bidding is in response to the Morrison government’s investment announcement to upgrade the Australian Army‘s amphibious capabilities in territorial waters and near regions.

In February, Australian Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said that the country would invest up to $610.6m (A$800m).

The programme is designed to acquire two separate fleets of Australian-built amphibious vehicles and landing craft.

A new amphibious vehicle (AV) is required to replace the Army’s Lighter, Amphibious Resupply, Cargo 5t vehicle (LARC-V), and Independent Landing Craft (ILC) to replace the current Landing Craft Mechanised (LCM-8) vessels.

These new vessels, proposed to be introduced from 2026, will be larger, faster, and better protected to support ADF operations.

Austal CEO Paddy Gregg said: “Austal is Australia’s proven defence prime contractor that has designed, constructed and sustained multiple naval shipbuilding programmes for Australia, and export markets around the world, for more than 20 years.

“Drawing upon this local strength in defence capability, including Australia’s largest team of naval architects, Austal is confident of offering an exceptional new littoral manoeuvre capability for the Australian Army that may be relied upon throughout its working life.”

In a separate development, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed by Navantia Australia and Rheinmetall Defence Australia.

The two companies have agreed to partner on the LAND 8710 Phase 1 programme. The team will leverage its land-based and maritime expertise to deliver the capability as required.

Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director Gary Stewart said: “We look forward to working alongside Navantia Australia to develop an amphibious logistics capability that will meet the requirements of the Australian Defence Force and has export potential.”