Australia’s upcoming Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) has moved a step closer to completion, after the first ship’s hull was launched at Ferrol Dockyard, Spain.
The launch ceremony was attended by RAN Chief of Navy Vice-Admiral Russ Crane, Agent-General for Victoria Sally Capp and various other Australian and Spanish dignitaries. Vice-Admiral Crane also attended the keel laying of the second LHD on February 18 where, in keeping with tradition, he placed a gold coin on the centreline dock block. Dubbed ‘Ship 1’, the first LHD hull is built up to the flightdeck by Spanish shipbuilder Navantia under contract to BAE Systems Australia. BAE will then complete the superstructure at its Williamstown facility, consolidating the LHD and integrating its combat system.
That hull is due to arrive at Williamstown Dockyard in August 2012 after a 23,150km journey as a ‘passenger’ onboard the world’s largest open-deck semi-submersible heavy lift ship, the Blue Marlin.
BAE is contracted to deliver two 27,000 tonne Canberra Class LHD ships, to be named HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide, between 2014 and 2015 under JP2048 Phase 4A/4B.
The vessel’s hanger can accommodate up to eight medium sized helicopters, with 18 medium sized helicopters able to be accommodated if the contiguous light vehicle deck is also used.