Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced Australia’s first Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) has entered Australian waters on its way to Melbourne.
The LHD01 hull has been transported from Spain to Australia by a Heavy Lift Ship, Blue Marlin. The trip has taken around eight weeks.
“The Heavy Lift Ship, Blue Marlin has now travelled around 10,000 nautical miles,” Mr Clare said.
“The LHDs are the largest ships ever built for the Royal Australian Navy and will provide the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with one of the most capable and sophisticated amphibious ships 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 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.
The Blue Marlin will transit to Port Phillip Bay in the coming week. The LHD hull will be unloaded and moved by tug to the BAE Systems Williamstown Shipyard for consolidation of the superstructure and other critical fitout work. The LHDs are being built by Prime Contractor BAE Systems.
“BAE are Australia’s largest Defence contractor and will play a key role in the consolidation and fitout of the LHD once it arrives in Australia,” Mr Clare said.
The LHD is expected to be introduced into Royal Australian Navy service in 2014.
Naval Today Staff, October 11, 2012; Image: Australian Navy