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First modernised Dutch navy LCU floated out

The first of five Dutch navy landing craft utility (LCU) Mk IX vessels to undergo its MLU, L 9525 , is launched at De Haas Shipyards in Rotterdam on 9 January. (Dutch MoD)

The first modernised Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) landing craft utility (LCU) Mk IX vessel was launched at De Haas Shipyards in Rotterdam on 9 January.

De Haas Shipyards is carrying out the LCU mid-life upgrade (MLU) programme for the RNLN's five LCUs under a contract awarded in 2022, with work to be completed by 2025.

The first unit, L 9525, entered dry dock at De Haas Shipyards on 21 January 2023 to start its MLU. Following its launch, the ship will now undergo final testing ahead of certification and delivery to the navy in the coming weeks, the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

The MLU has included modernisation of the crew and mess facilities to enhance endurance, a complete overhaul of the hull and structure, upgrading the machinery and propulsion systems to increase range, and the provision of stores to enable a logistic support capability. As part of the effort, the vessel has been equipped with new sleeping quarters, new generators have been installed, the exhausts have been moved towards the stern of the ship, and the wheelhouse has been replaced.

Under original plans, the RNLN had intended to replace the LCUs with faster craft but instead decided to upgrade the existing fleet due to a lack of funds. Planning for the LCU MLU programme was originally completed in 2018, but its implementation has been subject to delays.

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