Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced the departure of the hull of the first of the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) new amphibious ships from Ferrol in northern Spain.

Mr Clare said the Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) 01 hull will be transported to Melbourne, Australia, by the Heavy Lift Ship, Blue Marlin. The hull was built in the Navantia shipyard in Spain.

“The trip is expected to take approximately seven weeks depending on weather conditions,” Mr Clare said.

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.

Mr Clare 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.

“On arrival in Australian waters the ship will transit to Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne and then on to the Williamstown dockyard for consolidation of the superstructure and installation of the combat and communications and navigation systems. This will be followed by sea trials,” he said.

The vessel is scheduled to be delivered to the RAN in early 2014.

The hull of LHD 02 was launched on 4 July from the Navantia shipyard in a ceremony attended by the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs. When complete, LHD 02 will be commissioned as HMAS Adelaide.

Additional Information
Launched in Spain, in February 2011, the Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) Canberra has been loaded on to the heavy lift ship the MV Blue Marlin for the voyage to Australia.

The MV Blue Marlin is a semi-submersible heavy lift ship designed to transport very large semi-submersible drilling rigs above the transport ship’s deck. Blue Marlin is operated by the Dockwise group that provides specialty heavy marine transport services.

The Canberra class vessels are 230.8 metres long overall, with a maximum beam of 32 metres, and a maximum draught of 7.18 metres. At full load, “Canberra” will displace 27,851 tonnes, making the new LHDs the largest ships to serve in the RAN.

The ship is due to arrive in Victoria in November and will be fitted out by BAE Systems at the Melbourne Williamstown Shipyard before being accepted into service in 2014, followed by her sister ship “Adelaide” (LHD02) the year after.