Navantia has laid the keel for the LHD Canberra on 23 September at the Ferrol shipyard. The ship, similar to the Spanish Navy’s LHD Juan Carlos I, is the first of two commissioned by Australia in 2007.

The ceremony, presided by the Chief of the Australian Navy, Admiral Russ Crane and Navantia CEO Aurelio Martínez, was also attended by the Deputy Premier of South Australia, Hon. Kevin Foley.

Construction of the ship started exactly a year ago. The Canberra will be launched in 18 months’ time and is expected to be commissioned to BAE Systems. A second ship, due to be built in 2010, will have the same sequence.

The Canberra‘s design is based in the LHD Juan Carlos I, currently under construction for the Spanish Navy, and was chosen over an offer by the French company Armaris because it completely fitted the Royal Australian Navy’s requirements.