The hull of the second and last of the Royal Australian Navy’s new Landing Helicopter Dock ships has left Vigo in northern Spain and is on route to Australia.
Defence Minister Senator David Johnston today announced the hull’s departure from Spain.
Senator Johnston said the Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) hull will be transported to Melbourne, Australia, by the Heavy Lift Ship Blue Marlin. The hull was built at the Navantia Ferrol shipyard in Spain.
“The Canberra Class LHDs are the largest ships ever built for the Navy and will provide the Australian Defence Force with one of the most capable and sophisticated amphibious deployment capabilities in the world,” Senator Johnston said.
“This project was started by the Howard Government by the then Defence Minister Robert Hill and will produce a ship bigger than Australia’s last aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne.”
When completed the LHDs will be more than 230 metres long, 27.5 metres high and weigh around 27,500 tonnes.
Senator Johnston said each ship can carry a combined arms battle group of more than 1100 personnel, 100 armoured vehicles and 12 helicopters and features a 40-bed hospital.
“The departure of LHD02 (to be know as HMAS Adelaide) from Vigo en route for Australia marks another major milestone for the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO), Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and the prime contractor BAE Systems.
“On arrival in Australian waters the ship will transit to Melbourne and then on to the Williamstown dockyard for consolidation of the superstructure and installation of the combat, communications and navigation systems by local ship builders BAE Systems.
“The trip is expected to take approximately eight weeks depending on weather conditions,” Senator Johnston said.
Following the completion of sea trials the vessel is currently scheduled to be delivered to the RAN in the second half of 2015.