The hull of the first of the Royal Australian Navy’s two new amphibious ships(LHD’s) was launched at the Navantia dockyards in Ferrol, northern Spain.
Attendees included the ship’s “godmother” Mrs. Vickie Coates, the Chief of the Royal Australian Navy, Vice Adm. Russell Crane, and representatives of the Commonwealth of Australia, BAE Systems and Navantia, including its new managing director, Luis Cacho Quesada.
Construction of this ship, which was launched two months earlier than scheduled, began with the first metal cut on Sept. 23, 2008, followed by the laying of its keel 12 months later, on Sept. 23, 2009. This early launch will provide additional time for its fitting out and its sea trials through to the summer of 2012, after which the hull will be transported to Australia for completion and handover by BAE Systems Australia in Williamstown.
The contract for these two amphibious ships was awarded on Nov. 23, 2007 in Melbourne; they will be handed over to the customer in 2014 and 2015.
The design of the Australian LHDs is derived from that of the “Juan Carlos I,” delivered by Navantia to the Spanish navy last year.