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 (LCM-8).
The loading ramps were designed and delivered to Army Marine for field testing in operational conditions.
The LCM-8 is designed to deliver troops and equipment between larger ships and the shore, where there are no fixed port facilities and can be used to travel over the horizon.
Once the design was complete, certified drawings were issued, and the production of 15 sets of loading ramps commenced, with first completed a month later.
The outcome will result in codification by the Hydrographic Systems Program Office with the ramps listed in the LCM-8 Complete Equipment Schedule.
For Senior Maintainer Leading Seaman Marine Technician Jason Durda, he felt 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 enabled me to improve my technical mastery,” Leading Seaman Durda said.
The complexities of fabricating the loading ramps cannot be underestimated, as the design specifies the requirements of welding to certified Australian and New Zealand standards.
To comply with these requirements, local industry experts at North Queensland Engineers and Agents (NQEA) were engaged to assist in developing welding procedures which, were used to qualify Fleet Support Unit fabricators.
NQEA engagement also includes the conduct of 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 2020.
The loading ramps will be utilised by LCM-8 crews when conducting loading operations on both 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.
Delivering on a project such as this, clearly demonstrates how collaboration between the services and local industry is achievable. This collaboration is pivotal in the continued technical development and technical mastery within our Fleet Support Units.