NUSHIP Canberra, the first of two Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships being built for the Australian Defence Force, has sailed on her final contractor sea trials before delivery to the Australian Government.
The ship departed Williamstown shipyard on 12 August as planned with the trials taking place in both Port Phillip Bay and off the southern coast of New South Wales before returning to Williamstown around the end of August.
Final contractor trials involve testing of the combat and communication systems along with some platform systems trials.
Director of BAE Systems Maritime, Bill Saltzer, said: “This is the last major element of a very complex and comprehensive test program to prove the capabilities of the ship and its systems prior to delivery to our customer.
“Getting this ship to this stage has been a collaborative effort between BAE Systems and the Defence Materiel Organization (DMO). Our two project teams have worked closely throughout the project and now we are in the home stretch for the Canberra.”
Aboard NUSHIP Canberra for the final contractor trials are BAE Systems and DMO project personnel along with a number of Royal Australian Navy (RAN) officers and sailors who will crew the ship once delivered, as well as BAE Systems subcontractors Navantia, Saab, L3 and Teekay.
The final trials also provide an ideal opportunity for a number of the crew to familiarize themselves with the ship following their training at the BAE Systems facility at Mascot, NSW, in which state-of-the-art simulation technology was developed and utilized to achieve technical competence in a cost-effective environment.
As well as demonstrating the ship’s capabilities, the trials will provide the team with valuable feedback regarding the effectiveness of the training program. The utilization and extent of virtual training within LHD has been a new approach for the RAN and the feedback received from the crew so far has been very positive.
Mr Saltzer said work was also progressing well on NUSHIP Canberra’s sister ship, NUSHIP Adelaide: “In shipbuilding, there are always lessons learned on the first ship of a new class that can be implemented to achieve higher levels of productivity on the following ship or ships and this is certainly the case with NUSHIP Adelaide. The second LHD is coming together rapidly and is on track to be ready to start sea trials in the second quarter of next year.”
The 27,000 tonne LHDs are the largest ships ever built for the ADF and will be operated by the RAN. BAE Systems is the Prime Contractor for the project. The main subcontractors are Navantia for the platform design and hull construction in Spain, SAAB as the combat system integrator and L3 for the internal and external communications systems.