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Royal New Zealand Navy receives 3 new Littoral Manoeuvre Craft.

| 2023

According to information published by the NZDF on October 25, 2023, the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) has added three high-speed Littoral Manoeuvre Craft (LMC) to its fleet.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Littoral Manoeuvre Craft. (Picture source: RNZN)

These crafts are built by Australian-based Sentinel Boats and are set to be deployed by HMNZS Matataua, part of the RNZN's Littoral Warfare Force, aiming to aid in delivering divers, troops, and mine counter measures during military operations around coastal waters.

Commander Trevor Leslie, the commanding officer of HMNZS Matataua, indicated that these LMCs are expected to assist in coastal operations and the tactical insertion of diving and hydrographic specialists, with an additional reconnaissance capacity and the potential for international deployments.

A notable feature of the Sentinel 1250 crafts is their hull construction, made of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), differing from the traditional fibreglass or aluminium. This material choice is aimed at reducing maintenance, as it doesn't require painting and is expected to be more resistant to corrosion or degradation from electrolysis.

These boats are powered by twin Cummins QSB6.7 engines rated at 550hp each, with Twin HJX29 Hamilton Jet Units for propulsion, enabling speeds of over 40 knots. Each LMC has a length of 12.6 meters and a beam of 3.73 meters.

They have the capacity to transport a 5.3-meter zodiac on their back, potentially allowing for quicker transit from HMNZS Matataua and the deployment of teams of divers or hydrographers. The capacity of each LMC includes three crew members and 10 passengers, aligning with one of its mission profiles to carry troops.

Additionally, the Dive Hydrographic and Salvage vessel HMNZS Manawanui features a twin arm davit which facilitates the embarkation of the Littoral Manoeuvre Craft and the transportation of a boat and its team to an operational area. This feature also allows the transportation, launching, and recovery of a RNZN 5.3m Zodiac.

There's mention of a future upgrade to the Littoral Manoeuvre Craft, which includes the ability to mount machine guns forward and aft to enhance tactical utility when needed.

The LMCs are set to be operational initially from Devonport Naval Base and HMNZS Matataua, with plans to embark onto parent ship HMNZS Manawanui for transport to various operational areas as required.

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