When a call to fabricate two prototype loading ramps was issued, the team at Fleet Support Unit - North East rose to the challenge.

The Hydrographic Systems Program Office - Army Marine requested assistance to fabricate the ramps for use with Landing Craft Mechanised 8 (LCM8).

The loading ramps were designed and delivered to Army Marine for field testing in operational conditions. 

The LCM8 is designed to deliver troops and equipment between larger ships and the shore where there are no fixed-port facilities.

Once the design was approved, certified drawings were issued and the production of 15 sets of loading ramps started, with the first completed a month later. 

The outcome will result in codification by the Hydrographic Systems Program Office with the ramps listed in the LCM8 Complete Equipment Schedule.

Senior Maintainer Leading Seaman Marine Technician Jason Durda said it was an excellent opportunity for the team to practise their technical skills. 

“This type of project was a great opportunity for me to put my training in aluminium welding into practice and it enabled me to improve my technical mastery,” Leading Seaman Durda said.

The complexities of fabricating the loading ramps cannot be underestimated, as the welding had to be certified to Australian and New Zealand standards. 

To comply with these requirements, local industry experts at North Queensland Engineers and Agents (NQEA) were engaged to help develop welding procedures, which were used to qualify Fleet Support Unit fabricators.

NQEA engagement also included non-destructive testing of each ramp to ensure quality control and consistency of the final product.

Army Marine and Fleet Support Unit - North East, with the assistance of NQEA, are now working collaboratively in the fabrication, oversight and delivery of the LCM8 loading ramp project with the final set of loading ramps due for completion in November. 

The loading ramps will be used by LCM8 crews when conducting loading operations on hardstand and during beach landings. The ramps will simplify and increase safety and efficiency of loading of a range of vehicle types that are transported by sea.

This collaboration is pivotal in the continued technical development and technical mastery within our Fleet Support Units.