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Australian Navy's new amphibious ship launched

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The hull of HMAS Canberra was launced at Navantia's Ferrol facility last week. A Navantia photo

FERROL, SPAIN (BNS): The hull of Royal Australian Navy’s first amphibious ship, HMAS Canberra, has been launched at Navantia’s Ferrol shipyard last week.

The hull of the new vessel, which will be the largest ever warship to be built for the Australian Navy, was launched on February 18 in the presence of Australian Navy Chief Vice Admiral Russ Crane.

HMAS Canberra, which would be built as a Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD), will join the Australian Navy along with another LHD, HMAS Adelaide, construction of which began at Ferrol in February last year.

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 the Spanish shipyard Navantia has been entrusted with the task of constructing the hull of the two LHDs, the superstructures for the ships will be built at the BAE Systems Australia’s Williamstown dockyard.

HMAS Canberra is expected to arrive in Australia in 2012 followed by HMAS Adelaide in 2014.

The ships are being built for the Royal Australian Navy for sophisticated air-land-sea deployment. The warships will be based on the design of Juan Carlos I, the largest amphibious assault ship of the Spanish Navy which joined service last October.

The 27,000 tonne ships will be able to land a force of over 2,000 personnel by helicopter and water craft, along with all their weapons, ammunition, vehicles and stores.

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

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