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Published on Feb 17, 2011
The hull of the first of the Royal Australian Navy's two new amphibious ships has been launched in Spain, heralding a new era for Australia's amphibious capability.
The launch was lead by the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Russ Crane. Vice Admiral Crane says the event is enormously significant.
"These ships are officially known as Landing Helicopter Docks or LHDs and are the largest the Australian Navy has ever owned," Vice Admiral Crane said.
The launch of LHD 1's hull was held at the Navantia dockyards at Ferrol in northern Spain. The event had a distinctly Australian feel with the children of Australian diplomats in Spain joining the official delegation, waving Australian flags. A Canberra regional sparkling wine was broken over the Canberra Class ship's hull. Vicki Coates, wife of the late Rear Admiral Nigel Coates was the "launch lady". Rear Admiral Coates commanded the previous HMAS Canberra (II).
Vice Admiral Crane says with a new generation in technology comes a new way of thinking in terms of how Navy will operate and crews this new capability. "We are well progressed in our planning for the LHDs arrival," Vice Admiral Crane said. " I am confident we will have the people and the know-how by the time the first LHD comes on line. Most importantly for now, this project is on time and on budget."
Both ships will be based at Garden Island in Sydney. Crewed by all three services, the LHD will mark a significant strengthening of the ADFs amphibious capability and tri-service culture.
The first LHD HMAS Canberra (III) (LHD01) will arrive in Victoria next year where it will be fitted out and into service in 2014 with sister ship HMAS Adelaide (III) (LHD02) to follow the year later.