Second Australian LHD Launched

Artist impression of the Canberra Class LHD. BAE Systems Australia
Artist concept of the Australian Canberra Class LHD. Image: BAE Systems Australia

The second Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) HMAS Adelaide ship was launched at the Navantia  Ferrol-Fene shipyard in Spain. According to Navantia, this milestone was achieved four and half months ahead of schedule. This early launch provides additional time, until early 2014, to complete the outfitting and testing of the ship, when the hull will be transported to Australia for completion and delivery by BAE Systems Australia in Williamstown.

Australia is acquiring two amphibious ships for the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The Spanish shipbuilder Navantia has constructed and is fitting out the hulls of both amphibious ships as a subcontractor to BAE Systems Australia.

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. The first ship HMAS Canberra is expected to join the Australian Defence Force in 2014 with HMAS Adelaide to follow in 2015.

The 27,800 ton Canberra Class 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. When completed they will be more than 230 meters long, 27.5 meters high and weigh around 27,800 tones. Each vessel can carry a combined armed battlegroup of more than 1,100 personnel, 100 armored vehicles and 12 helicopters and features a 40-bed hospital. The design of the Australian LHDs is based on the “Juan Carlos I”, delivered by Navantia to the Spanish Navy in 2011.

As the Prime Contractor and leader in naval systems integration, amphibious platforms and capability, BAE Systems will manage the overall project in close cooperation with subcontractors Navantia, Saab and L-3 Communications.

Artist impression of the Canberra Class LHD. BAE Systems Australia