CANBERRA, Australia, Aug. 31 (UPI) — Australia’s first-of-class landing helicopter dock ship is closer to initial operational capability following completion of a graduated test and trial program.
The second LHD, meanwhile, has completed her second and final sea trials prior to delivery to the Royal Australian Navy.
The Canberra-class ships will be the largest vessels operated by the Royal Australian Navy. They are about 757 feet long, displace more than 30,000 tons and have a maximum speed of 20 knots. Range is 9,000 nautical miles.
The ship hulls were made by Navantia of Spain and shipped to Australia for continued shipbuilding by BAE Systems Australia.
Each of the ships can carry four landing craft, plus helicopters, and can carry more than 1,000 troops. Eight helicopters is the standard helicopter compliment but there is hanger space for 18 helicopters each.
The first ship is the Canberra. The second is the Adelaide.
“Canberra now has another two months of more complex joint collective training and exercises to integrate other elements of the Australian Defense Force amphibious capability,” said Chief of Navy Vice Adm. Tim Barrett.
“Certification of the Amphibious Ready Element later this year is the final tick to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief support. I will then be able to declare the Initial Operating Capability for the Canberra class Amphibious Ships,” he said.
Canberra’s sister ship, NUSHIP Adelaide, is expected to enter service later this year.
The second and final sea trials of the Adelaide were focused on testing the ship’s combat and communications systems and were conducted over a 10-day period, BAE Systems said.
Training of the ships’ crews — 700 sailors in all – was conducted by BAE Systems.
“The upcoming handover [of the Adelaide] will of course be a very proud day for all involved with building NUSHIP Adelaide, but it won’t be the end of our involvement with these mighty ships,” said Bill Saltzer, director of maritime, BAE Systems Australia. “As prime contractor for LHD in-service support, our team of experienced engineers, technicians and logisticians in both Sydney and Williamstown will continue to be the key partner… in managing the availability of these two ships.”
Canberra was delivered to the Australian Navy in October of last year and commissioned the following month.
BAE Systems Australia is involved in several projects for the Royal Australian Navy, including the ANZAC Frigate Anti-Ship Missile Defense upgrade project and other support activities for ANZAC and Adelaide-class frigates.