The keel for the Navy’s first amphibious Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD), HMAS Canberra, was laid last week at shipbuilder Navantia’s yards in Ferrol, Spain.
The vessel is the first of two LHDs to be acquired under Project JP2048 for the support of deployed forces ashore and for regional disaster relief work. Navantia has been contracted to design and build the vessels, based on the Spanish ‘King Juan Carlos’ design by prime contractor BAE Systems Australia.
“The project is on schedule with the ceremony for the keel laying of the hull for LHD 01 occurring exactly one year to the day from first steel being cut. I am also advised that the whole of ship design reviews are nearing completion,” said Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science, Greg Combet. “After completion of the hulls for the amphibious ships they will be transported to Australia. The superstructures will then be constructed, fitted out and integrated with the hulls at BAE Systems’s Williamstown dockyard.”
LHD01 is expected to be launched in March 2011 and enter service in about 2015, while LHD02 will follow two years behind.