The Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) second Canberra-class landing helicopter dock (LHD), HMAS Adelaide (LHD 02), has been launched at Navantia's shipbuilding yard in Spain, four months ahead of schedule.
Australia had placed orders with BAE Systems for the construction of the two amphibious ships as a part of Australian Defence Force's (ADF) broader amphibious deployment and sustainment system.
As a subcontractor to BAE and serving as the design authority, Navantia is responsible for the construction and installation of hulls for both amphibious ships for the ADF.
In addition to supporting humanitarian missions, the 230m-long LHDs will be used by the navy to transport military equipment and aviation units.
Capable of carrying combined armed force of more than 1,100 personnel, 100 armoured vehicles and 12 helicopters, the LHD ships have a displacement capacity of 27,500t and feature a 40-bed hospital.
The superstructure, combat and communications systems will be integrated with the hulls in Australia at the BAE Systems shipyard in Williamstown, Victoria.
Additional features of command and control (C2) and combat systems include 3D air search radar, helicopter control and surface radar, ESM/ECM Suite, integrated communications system, integrated navigation system.
Equipped with anti-torpedo towed defence system (Nixie) and four 20 mm automated guns, the LHDs are also armed with 6 x 12.7mm machine guns, as well as Nulka active missile decoy system.
The first LHD, HMAS Canberra is scheduled for delivery to RAN in January 2014, while HMAS Adelaide is due to be commissioned in June 2015.
Image: The second Canberra-class landing helicopter dock (LHD), HMAS Adelaide during its launch in Spain. Photo: courtesy of defence.gov.au.