The L-CAT or Landing Catamaran is a fast landing craft developed by CNIM, part of the France-based CNIM Group. The French Navy has had four in operation since 2012 and the Egyptian Navy two since 2016, both navies using them with their Mistral-class force projection vessels.
The L-CAT has aluminium hulls and a central lift platform rated at 80t that can be raised or lowered to allow loading and unloading of armoured vehicles, including a main battle tank. With a full load and the platform raised, the L-CAT has a top speed of 18kts. To unload, the platform is lowered, transforming the vessel into a beachable flat-bottomed landing craft. The L-CAT’s forward and aft ramps give it a roll-on/roll-off capability that greatly facilitates manoeuvres and makes it easier to manage cargo and equipment in the mother vessel’s well dock.
L-CAT and Mistral-class force projection vessel (© : CNIM)
Compared with conventional landing craft, L-CAT offers improved speed, endurance, seakeeping and flexibility for more efficient amphibious operations. It can also be deployed further from the coast for surprise attacks while the mother ship remains out of range of enemy defences.
Building on the L-CAT’s success, CNIM has also developed a shore-to-shore version to transport combatants and their equipment from one port or beach to another. With good endurance and its own communications systems, sensors and self-defence weapons, the new type offers a payload of 100 tonnes, a panoramic bridge and improved passenger conditions for longer transits. It is thus ideal for coastal security operations and civilian evacuation and humanitarian.
L-CAT shore-to-shore (© : CNIM)
L-CAT shore-to-shore technical data
Dimensions (m): 32.5 x 13.6
Power: 5,000 kW
Speed: 15 to 22 kts
Range: 750 to 1,000 nm
Accomodation: 6 (+54)
Weapons: 1 x 20mm - 2 x 12.7 mm