The hull of what will be the largest warship ever operated by the Royal Australian Navy – the next HMAS Canberra – arrived today in Port Phillip Bay on its way to Williamstown for further construction.
Welcoming the HMAS Canberra’s Spanish-built hull to Geelong, Minister for Manufacturing, Exports and Trade Richard Dalla-Riva said the Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ship was a major project for Victoria’s defence industry.
The Victorian Coalition Government has supported BAE Systems to enable infrastructure upgrades to the Williamstown shipyards, which has resulted in this work being able to be completed here in Victoria.
“We are pleased that the bulk of the HMAS Canberra’s construction is taking place at Williamstown, with over 900 jobs, both existing and new, being secured by this project and many more across the defence industries supply chain in Victoria,” Mr Dalla-Riva said.
The 230 metre, 27,000 tonne LHD ship and its sister ship, the next HMAS Adelaide, are each capable of carrying more than 1,100 personnel, 100 armoured vehicles and 12 helicopters.
The LHD ships will also be used for humanitarian purposes and will each contain a 40 bed hospital with two operating theatres, an intensive care ward, a laboratory and X-ray facilities. Each ship can generate enough power to sustain a city the size of Greater Geelong and is greater in length than the Rialto tower is in height.
“BAE Systems will start work on installing the ‘superstructure’ which includes four modules, each weighing more than 300 tonnes which house the combat, communications and ship management systems, and they will conduct the final fit-out of all operational compartments,” Mr Dalla-Riva said.
Lascelles Wharf in Geelong will be HMAS Canberra’s first stop, where it will be prepared for its release from the heavy-lift ship, Blue Marlin. The hull will then be tugged to Nelson Pier at BAE Systems’ shipyards at Williamstown.
BAE Systems expects to complete work on the HMAS Canberra by mid 2014 and then start work on the HMAS Adelaide which will arrive in Williamstown the same year.
Press Release, October 17, 2012; Image: navy.au