HMPNGS Salamaua

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Namesake: Island of Salamaua
Builder: Walkers Limited
Laid down: 29 May 1972
Launched: 27 July 1972
Commissioned: 19 October 1973
Decommissioned: 14 November 1974
Fate: Transferred to Papua New Guinea Defence Force
Papua New Guinea
Acquired: 14 November 1974
Status: Active as of 2013
General characteristics
Class and type: Balikpapan class landing craft heavy
Displacement: 316 tons
Length: 44.5 m (146 ft)
Beam: 10.1 m (33 ft)
Propulsion: Two GE diesels
Speed: 9 knots (17 km/h; 10 mph)
Capacity: 180 tons of vehicle cargo or 400 soldiers
Complement: 13
Armament: two 0.50 inch machine guns

HMPNGS Salamaua is a Balikpapan class heavy landing craft operated by the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF). Prior to 1974, the vessel was called HMAS Salamaua (L 131) and was operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

Design and construction[edit]

The eight-vessel Balikpapan class was ordered as a locally manufactured replacement for the Australian Army's LSM-1 class landing ship medium and ALC 50 landing craft.[1] They are 44.5 metres (146 ft) long, with a beam of 10.1 metres (33 ft), and a draught of 1.9 metres (6 ft 3 in).[2] The landing craft have a standard displacement of 316 tons, with a full load displacement of 503 tons.[2] They are propelled by two G.M. Detroit 6-71 diesel motors, providing 675 brake horsepower to the two propeller shafts, allowing the vessels to reach 9 knots (17 km/h; 10 mph).[2] The standard ship's company is 13-strong.[2] The Balikpapans are equipped with a Decca RM 916 navigational radar, and fitted with two 7.62 millimetres (0.300 in) machine guns for self-defence.[2]

The LCHs have a maximum payload of 180 tons; equivalent to 3 Leopard 1 tanks, 13 M113 armored personnel carriers 23 quarter-tonne trucks, or four LARC-V amphibious cargo vehicles.[2][3] As a troop transport, a Balikpapan class vessel can transport up to 400 soldiers between a larger amphibious ship and the shore, or embark 60 soldiers in six-berth caravans for longer voyages.[3][4] The vessel's payload affects the range: at 175 tons of cargo, each vessel has a range of 1,300 nautical miles (2,400 km; 1,500 mi), which increases to 2,280 nautical miles (4,220 km; 2,620 mi) with a 150-ton payload, and 3,000 nautical miles (5,600 km; 3,500 mi) when unladen.[2] The flat, box-like keel causes the ships to roll considerably in other-than-calm conditions, limiting their ability to make long voyages.[3]

Salamaua was laid down Walkers Limited at Maryborough, Queensland on 29 May 1972, launched on 27 July 1972, and commissioned into the RAN on 19 October 1973.[5]

Operational history[edit]

Salamaua was transferred to the Papua New Guinea Defence Force on 14 November 1974.[3] She is in active service as of 2013.[6]


  1. ^ Gillett, Australian and New Zealand Warships since 1946, pgs 79, 125
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Wertheim (ed.), The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, p. 26
  3. ^ a b c d Gillett, Australian and New Zealand Warships since 1946, p. 79
  4. ^ "Balikpapan Class Heavy Landing Craft (LCH), Australia". Naval Technology. 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  5. ^ Swinden, Heavy Lifting for Four Decades, p. 20
  6. ^ Swinden, Heavy Lifting for Four Decades, p. 21


Journal articles
  • Swinden, Greg (April 2013). "Heavy Lifting for Four Decades: The Navy's Landing Craft Heavy". The Navy. Navy League of Australia. 75 (2): 20–24. ISSN 1322-6231.