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LHD 01 HMAS Canberra - Program

The project will replace the Heavy Lift Ship HMAS Tobruk and one of the Amphibious Landing Ships (either HMAS Manoora or HMAS Kanimbla) with two large amphibious ships over the period 2014-2015. Phases 4A and 4B provide the Amphibious Deployment and Sustainment (ADAS) capability including 2 amphibious ships to replace HMAS Tobruk and one Amphibious Transport (LPA). These phases may be combined and approved together, and will provide the ADF with increased amphibious deployment and sustainment capability to support an enhanced deployed force. Phase 4A will replace the Heavy Landing Ship (LSH) HMAS Tobruk when it reached the end of its service life in 2010 with a new class of larger amphibious vessel. Phase 4B will see the replacement of one of the Amphibious Transports (LPA) with a similar larger amphibious vessel to Phase 4A in 2013.

Tenders for the LHD project closed in September 2006. The shipbuilding contest was between Tenix and Thales Australia. The primes both teamed with a design company Tenix with Navantia and Thales (then ADI) with Amaris. The Navantia (27 000 tonnes) and Amaris (22 000 tonnes) designs both class as 'very large' naval vessels.

In January 2006 the Government announced that the new ships would be of the Canberra Class and would be named HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide, taking the names of the national and South Australian capitals reflecting Australia's naval heritage. The first ships to bear these names were British-pattern cruisers which gave service in World War II, HMAS Canberra (I) being lost in the Battle of Savo Island, while HMAS Adelaide (I) sank the German blockade-runner Ramses and assisted in the overthrow of the Vichy Government of Noumea. The second generation were US-built Oliver Hazard Perry class guided missile frigates which served from the early 1980s into the 21st Century.

On 21 June 2007 the Royal Australia Navy (RAN) selected a Spanish design for its latest lots of warships - including an $11 billion package for destroyers and amphibious landing ships. Announcing the successful $3 billion tender for the navy's Amphibious Warships Acquisition Program, the Australian Defence Minister, Dr Brendan Nelson, said in Canberra, that the joint tender for design by the Spanish company, Navantia and subsequent construction by Australia's largest locally-owned defence and technology contractor, Tenix Pty Ltd, was the RAN's preferred option.The Australian Defence Department started negotiations with Tenix leading to a contract for delivery of the ships between 2012 and 2014.

The Australia Government also chose a Navantia design for its Air Warfare Destroyer plan, which included an $8 billion package for three of the 6,250 tonne destroyers. The state of the art F100 destroyer featured the US Aegis combat System, 48 vertical missile launchers, deck guns and harpoon guided missiles. The first of these destroyers was expected to enter service in 2014.

The construction of the amphibious ships would take place in Spain and Australia. Approximately one quarter of the construction of the amphibious ships will take place in Australia. The construction of the superstructure and the majority of the fitout will occur in Melbourne, with an estimated value of up to $500 million. The majority of combat system design and integration work will take place in Adelaide, worth up to $100 million for the South Australia economy. There will also be further work contracted to other states.

The Spanish designer and builder Navantia is sub contracted to construct and fit out the hulls at Ferrol and Fene shipyard (Spain) and transport them to the BAE Systems Australia Defence Williamstown dockyard, Victoria. Much of the vessels' combat and communications systems integration and installation - the 'smart stuff' - would be done by Australian industry. This would make the most of project opportunities in Australia's leading edge technologies - electronics, systems engineering and integration, and design development.

A contract was signed between the Commonwealth (DMO) and the Australian shipbuilder Tenix Defence (now BAE Systems Australia Defence) on October 9, 2007.

BAE Systems Australia Defence will construct and fit out the superstructures at Williamstown and integrate them with the hulls. It has subcontracted SAAB Systems Australia to develop the combat system that will have baseline commonality the the ANZAC class ships. The combat system will be responsible for ship situational awareness, planning and execution for self-defence and also responsible for enabling, controlling and monitoring many of the functional capabilities specific to the characteristics of an amphibious ship.

Internal and external communications systems will be supplied by L3 Communications and will be responsible for enabling a large part of the embarked forces capability and a range of air traffic control and watercraft control capabilities.

The first steel cut occurred on 22 September 2008, with the initial release of HMA Ships Canberra (LHD01) and Adelaide (LHD02) anticipated to be completed in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

On 18 February 2011 the hull of the first LHD was launched in Spain, where it has been constructed by Navantia. The hull would arrive in Melbourne in 2012 for further work to be completed at the Williamstown Shipyard before the LHD becomes operational in 2014. Australia's second LHD will become operational the following year.

These vessels, which will be home ported in Sydney, will provide a significant increase in the Australian Defence Force's amphibious capability and be the largest warships the Navy has ever had, displacing approximately 6000 tonnes more than the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne.

Ship building milestones

September 2008
First steel cut
July 2012
LHD 1 hull arrives in Williamstown
September 2012
Land-Based Test Site acceptance testing complete
Initial in-service support contract signed
December 2013 - January 2014
LHD 1 delivery - acceptance into service
February 2014
LHD 2 hull arrives in Williamstown
July 2015 - August 2015
LHD 2 delivery - acceptance into service


Ship Pennant Launch Arrive
HMAS Adelaide (III) LHD 01 Mar 2011 Sep 2012 Feb 2014
HMAS Canberra (III) LHD 02 Feb 2014 Aug 2015

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Page last modified: 27-03-2012 18:12:56 ZULU