The Royal Navy officer overseeing the Commando Force modernisation programme has set out plans for the acquisition of a new high-speed, low-signature Commando Insertion Craft (CIC) to replace the Royal Marines’ current Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP) MK 5.
Speaking at the CNE 2023 conference in Farnborough, Captain Nick Unwin, Commando Force programme director, said that top-level requirements called for a vessel “that can carry a strike team and a small vehicle in from 150 miles, at 25 knots plus and with a low signature,” adding: “That’s the challenge we’ve set to industry.”
As a replacement for the LCVP Mk 5, which entered service in 1996 and is planned to retire in 2027, the CIC is envisaged as a new-generation medium lift craft that can deliver Royal Marine Commando teams and their equipment from ships some distance offshore without detection. The requirement reflects a view that amphibious operations – including beach assaults – must adopt radical new approaches to overcome modern coastal defences.
A competition for CIC design, manufacture and support is expected to commence at the end of 2024, with industry sources suggesting a plan to procure over 20 craft. A contract is planned before the end of 2025: the UK Ministry of Defence most recent equipment pipeline update, published in April this year, has declared a budget of £191 million for the programme.