Modernization in Action: Royal Netherlands Navy Launches Mid-life Upgrade for LCUMK II

The Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN, Koninklijke Marine) has commenced its mid-life upgrade (MLU) program for the Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Mark II, with the first vessel entering dry dock at De Haas Shipyards in Rotterdam on January 21.

De Haas Shipyards was awarded the contract for this extensive overhaul in October 2022, with the project slated for completion by 2025. This comprehensive MLU effort aims to enhance the endurance, structure, propulsion systems, and logistic support capability of the LCUMK II fleet.

LCU Mark II: A Vital Asset for the RNLN: The LCU Mark II serves as the largest landing craft in the Royal Netherlands Navy’s arsenal, primarily tasked with transporting troops and equipment to shore.

These versatile vessels can ferry light tracked or wheeled vehicles and personnel from amphibious assault ships to beachheads or piers. Of the five LCUs in service, four are assigned to the RNLN’s landing platform docks (LPDs) Rotterdam (L 800) and Johan de Witt (L 801), while the remaining craft are dedicated to training and maintenance duties.

Key Upgrades in the MLU Program: The MLU program for the LCUMK II encompasses several critical enhancements. These include modernizing crew and mess facilities to bolster endurance, a complete overhaul of the hull and structure, upgrading machinery and propulsion systems to extend range, and equipping the vessels to support logistic operations. These upgrades are set to significantly augment the LCUMK II’s operational capabilities.

Historical Background: The LCUMK II vessels were originally ordered from Visser Dockyard in Den Helder in 1996, with the first unit being commissioned in 1998. Subsequent vessels were constructed at Damen Shipyard in Romania, Galati, and outfitted in Den Helder. In 2003–05, the LCUs underwent lengthening modifications to reduce their draft.

These vessels boast a full load displacement of 255 tonnes, a length of 36.3 meters, a beam of 6.85 meters, and a draft of 1.4 meters. With a top speed of 9 knots and a range of 400 nautical miles at 8 knots, the LCUMK II can accommodate either 130 troops or 65 tonnes of vehicles, including three trucks and two light armored vehicles.

In conclusion, the Royal Netherlands Navy’s mid-life upgrade for the LCUMK II demonstrates the commitment to maintaining and enhancing the capabilities of its crucial landing craft utility fleet. This initiative ensures the RNLN’s continued readiness and effectiveness in fulfilling its amphibious transport and support missions.

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