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New Navy fleet benefits from trans-Tasman industry expertise

The Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) have welcomed three new military expeditionary and operational support vessels to its fleet.

03 November, 2023

The 12.5 metre Littoral Manoeuvre Craft (LMC) are fast and dependable, and will be deployed by HMNZS Matataua, the RNZN’s Littoral Warfare Unit, for mine countermeasures, diving, military hydrography and other maritime operations. 

Matawhā, the last of the three vessels to be built, will be proudly on display at the Indo Pacific Maritime Expo in Sydney, in November 2023 before being transported to the Devonport Naval Base in Auckland to join the others.

These new vessels have an advanced design from Sydney based One2three, and were modelled by Tasmania’s Pivot Simulation to validate their safety, reliability and durability. Sentinel Boats used a unique and state of the art polyethylene hull to deliver craft that are extremely durable, highly resistant to impact and have a very low magnetic and acoustic signature.

A grey boat docked on a jetty under the sun in Devonport Naval Base.

The LMC docked at Devonport Naval Base in Auckland.

New Zealand businesses play a key role in the capability of these new vessels and will help keep them performing for years to come. The twin waterjet units, which can drive the craft to more than 40 knots, were designed and built by Christchurch company HamiltonJet. While ongoing maintenance and servicing for the vessels will be provided by Auckland’s General Marine Service (GMS).

Project Lead for the LMC vessels, Frank Dyer - Ministry of Defence, says bringing New Zealand businesses to the fold ensures we’re putting something back into the communities through our procurement activities.

“When we work in partnership with New Zealand businesses like GMS, it means we have local New Zealand support that we can rely on through the life of the vessel,” he says.

“Similarly with Hamilton Jet, we have incredible local support, as well as the expertise of an original equipment manufacturer. Combining the unique Sentinel hull with these New Zealand capabilities has provided us with the best solution, and through this common goal, has built excellent industry relationships with Kiwi companies.”

All commissioned RNZN ships and shore units have a ceremonial homeport which they are indelibly linked to. For HMNZS Matataua, it’s Whakatane, and the Ngāti Awa Iwi of Eastern Bay of Plenty named the three vessels after the mangō (shark) which are of importance to that iwi  - Matawhā (Bronze Whaler), Ururoa (Great White) and Mako (Blue Pointer).