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Second Canberra-class LHD for Australian Navy launched

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The hull of the Royal Australian Navy's second landing helicopter dock has been launched four and half months ahead of schedule in Spain. An RAN photo

FERROL (BNS): Spanish shipbuilder Navantia has launched the second Canberra-class landing helicopter dock (LHD) for the Royal Australian Navy at its Ferrol facility.

The hull of the amphibious ship, to be christened HMAS Adelaide, was launched in the presence of RAN Chief, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs and other officials, the shipbuilder said on Thursday.

Construction of Adelaide began with steel cutting ceremony on February 2, 2010, followed by the keel laying on February 18, 2011.

Navantia is constructing two LHDs for the RAN - HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide.

The LHDs are the largest ships ever built for the Royal Australian Navy and will provide the Australian Defence Forces with one of the most capable and sophisticated amphibious deployment systems in the world.

Each ship will be more than 230 metres long, 27.5 metres high and weigh around 27,500 tonnes. It will carry a combined armed battlegroup of more than 1100 personnel, 100 armoured vehicles and 12 helicopters.

The Australian subsidiary of British defence major BAE Systems has been awarded the contract to build the two large amphibious ships for the Australian Navy.

While Navantia has been entrusted with the task of constructing the hull of the two LHDs, the superstructures, combat and communications systems for the ships will be built at BAE Systems Australia's Williamstown dockyard in Victoria.

The warships, being built for sophisticated air-land-sea deployment, will be based on the design of Juan Carlos I - the largest amphibious assault ship of the Spanish Navy.

The RAN expects to induct the two ships in its fleet by 2014-15.

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