Qinetiq has been awarded a contract to design, construct and carry out test and evaluation trials on a vessel that will support Royal Marine Commandos during amphibious operations.
Qinetiq has been awarded a four-year MOD contract to design, construct and carry out test and evaluation trials on a technology demonstrator vessel. Qinetiq said in a statement that the vessel will be a contender for the next generation of fast landing craft.
The build of the technology demonstrator will be subcontracted to the marine industry through competitive tender. If selected, the high speed Partial Air Cushion Supported CATamaran vessel (PACSCAT) will be used to support future amphibious operations.
Qinetiq says the new generation of fast landing craft will play an integral part in the primary role of the Royal Navy’s new Landing Platform Dock (LPD) vessels, HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark, to support Royal Marine Commandos during amphibious operations. The LPDs will be used to transport, deploy and recover troops and their equipment.
The concept of PACSCAT vessels was developed by John Lewthwaite of Independent Maritime Assessment Associates (IMAA). The technology demonstrator will be built to the same dimensions as the Landing Craft Utility Mk10 currently in use with the UK’s Royal Marines and trials are expected to begin with 11 Amphibious Trials and Training Squadron based at Instow, North Devon in 2008.
The PACSCAT craft will be capable of a variety of roles where high speed and high payload capacity are required and its low and variable draught will give it good beaching qualities.
Trials already conducted with a 1/3 scale manned model have proved it to be capable of beaching on a 1:120 gradient beach in scaled operational conditions.
The increased speed and payload balance of the PACSCAT will make ’over-the-horizon’ amphibious operations feasible for task force commanders. They will be able to stay offshore at a safe distance and return at high speed to recover troops when required.