Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced the launch of the second Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) at the Navantia shipyard in Spain.
The launch represented a major milestone in the shipbuilding process and was attended by the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs.
Australia is acquiring two amphibious ships for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
The LHDs are the largest ships ever built for the Royal Australian Navy and will provide the ADF with one of the most capable and sophisticated amphibious deployment systems in the world.
The Canberra Class LHDs are bigger than Australia’s last aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne (II). When completed they will be more than 230 metres long, 27.5 metres high and weigh around 27,500 tonnes. Each ship can carry a combined armed battlegroup of more than 1100 personnel, 100 armoured vehicles and 12 helicopters and features a 40-bed hospital.
Spanish shipbuilder Navantia, as a subcontractor to BAE Systems Australia, has constructed and is fitting out the hulls of both amphibious ships.
The superstructure, combat and communications systems will be consolidated with the hulls in Australia at the BAE Systems shipyard in Williamstown, Victoria.
The arrival of the first amphibious ship hull at BAE’s Williamstown dockyard is expected later this year.
When the hull arrives in Melbourne the complex task of marrying the superstructure, hull, combat system and communications system can commence, in preparation for delivery of the first ship to the Australian Defence Force in 2014.
Source: RAN, July 5, 2012