Army’s effort to modernise its littoral manoeuvre capabilities, a key priority outlined in the Defence Strategic Review (DSR), has received a shakeup with Project Land 8710 Phase 3 Littoral Manoeuvre - Riverine renamed and rescoped.
Now known as Littoral Manoeuvre Patrol (LMV-P) and described as a “Fast Assault Craft”, the project, which is yet to be approved by government, will focus on enhancing the Army's ability to operate in highly contested littoral environments.
The modernisation of the Army’s littoral manoeuvre capabilities through Project Land 8710 is a key focus in the post-DSR environment. In response to the DSR’s recommendations, the government agreed to “expand and accelerate” the entire Land 8710 project - which includes Littoral Manoeuvre Vessel - Medium (Phase 1), Littoral Manoeuvre Vessel - Heavy (Phase 2) and supporting facilities (Phase 5) in addition to LMV-P (Phase 3).
Documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws reveal that LMV-P will complement vessels acquired through earlier phases of the project by providing littoral “rapid manoeuvre” and “firepower” capabilities to the Army and joint force in “direct” fire environments. This will necessitate multi-role vessels that can perform equally well ferrying troops, employing weapons or a combination of the two.
This differentiates LMV-P from the other vessels being acquired because, while armed and protected, neither the Littoral Manoeuvre Vessel - Medium nor the Littoral Manoeuvre Vessel - Heavy are intended to participate in the fight directly. Instead, their primary mission is providing logistical and manoeuvre support to units employed in the littoral fight.
Despite a commitment to “accelerate” the Land 8710 project, five months on from the DSR, and nearly two years since the original tender closed, the government is yet to select a preferred provider for the Phase 1 Littoral Manoeuvre Vessel - Medium, let alone issue a request for information about Phase 2.
Given that, even if/when Land 8710 Phase 2 is approved by the government, it remains to be seen when it will be contracted for, let alone delivered.