Second Helicopter Carrier En Route to Australia

Royal Australian Navy will soon double the strength of its LHD fleet.

Jan 21, 2014 at 11:49PM

On Tuesday, the Australian Department of Defence confirmed that the hull of its second, and last, of its two new aircraft carriers has departed its shipyard in Spain and is en route to Australia for completion.

The carrier, specifically a Canberra-class Landing Helicopter Dock to be christened HMAS Adelaide (LHD02), is described as one of "the largest ships ever built for the [Australian] Navy and will provide the Australian Defence Force with one of the most capable and sophisticated amphibious deployment capabilities in the world." Weighing in at 27,800 tons displacement, Adelaide is somewhat larger than the new class of helicopter destroyers, that Japan is building, and that China has accused of being aircraft carriers in disguise.

Still undergoing construction by prime contractor BAE Systems (NASDAQOTH:BAESY) (LSE:BA), Adelaide will be a twin to the preceding HMAS Canberra (LHD01), a warship 757 feet in length, with a 105-foot beam and a maximum draught of 23 feet. Both warships will be equipped  with Rafael Typhoon 25 mm remote weapons systems and six 12.7 mm machine guns, plus an AN/SLQ-25 Nixie towed torpedo decoy and a Nulka missile decoy for defense.

Designed for amphibious operations, both vessels are said to be capable of steaming at 20 knots, and can carry "a combined arms battle group of more than 1100 personnel, 100 armoured vehicles, and 12 helicopters and ... a 40-bed hospital." The Royal Australian Navy expects to take possession of Adelaide sometime in H2 2015.

Fool contributor Rich Smith and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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