The Royal Netherlands Navy’s first retrofitted Landing Craft Utility ship (LCU) was launched on 9 January. This took place at De Haas Shipyards in Rotterdam, which is carrying out the so-called midlife upgrade for all five LCUs.

The upgrade will allow the vessels to last until at least 2032. The remaining vessels will be renewed in phases until 2025.

It will be a few weeks before the navy can actually start using the modernised LCU Mark III. Now that the 200-tonne ship is in the water, final tests are being carried out and final work on board is being completed. After certification, it will go to the navy via Materiel and IT Command (COMMIT). Watch a video of the launch below.

First modernised LCU ready for trials
First modernised LCU ready for trials (photo Dutch Ministry of Defence).

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Refit work

The landing craft has been modified to keep up with new requirements and changing use. For instance, new sleeping quarters have been made at the bottom of the ship. The generators have also been renewed, the wheelhouse has been completely replaced and the exhausts have been moved to the stern. In addition, many systems have been replaced and additional functionalities added.

The navy uses this type of landing craft to transport heavy equipment from an amphibious transport ship to the beach and back. They are the Dutch navy’s largest landing craft. On board 1 LCU, there is room for three trucks, two armoured vehicles and a BARV recovery vehicle or 130 fully packed Marines, among others.

Pictures by the Dutch Ministry of Defence.

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