LHD01 is being transported to Australia (photo : heavyliftspecialist)
Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that the hull of the first of the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) new amphibious ships has begun the final leg of its journey to Australia.
Mr Clare said the Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) 01 hull has rounded the Cape of Good Hope and is expected to arrive in Melbourne in the next few weeks.
The LHD hull left Ferrol, Spain in August and is being transported by the Heavy Lift Ship, Blue Marlin. The hull was built in the Navantia shipyard in Spain.
“The Blue Marlin is making good progress and we expect the LHD to arrive in Melbourne by mid October,” 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.
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.
“From Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne, the LHD will then travel to the Williamstown dockyard for consolidation of the superstructure and installation of the combat and communications and navigation systems,” Mr Clare said.
The vessel is scheduled to be delivered to the RAN in early 2014.