BAE, RAN LHD trials

The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) first of two landing helicopter dock (LHD) vessels, Nuship Canberra, has embarked on final builder sea trials, prior to its delivery to the Australian Government.

During the trials, scheduled to take place in both Port Phillip Bay and off the southern coast of New South Wales until late August, the company will test the combat and communication systems, together with some platform system assessments.

BAE Systems Maritime director Bill Saltzer said: "This is the last major element of a very complex and comprehensive test programme 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 Organisation (DMO).

"Our two project teams have worked closely throughout the project and now we are in the home stretch for the Canberra."

Furthermore, the trials also aim to enable the vessel’s future crews to familiarise themselves with the ship before their training at BAE Systems’ Mascot facility.

"Our two project teams have worked closely throughout the project and now we are in the home stretch for the Canberra."

In addition to highlighting the capabilities of the vessel, the builder trials will provide valuable feedback concerning the effectiveness of the training programme.

BAE Systems added that work is underway on the RAN’s second LHD, Nuship Adelaide, with anticipated sea trials next year.

Saltzer added: "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 757ft-long Nuship Canberra can accommodate 1,000 troops, together with helicopters, while cruising at maximum speed of over 20k with a 9,000nm range.

Weighing 27,000t, both vessels are reportedly the largest ever built for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

BAE Systems is the prime contractor for the project, while the main subcontractors include Navantia, SAAB and L3.

Image: Builder sea trials of the RAN’s first LHD Nuship Canberra will finish by the end of August. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.

Defence Technology