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Second Helicopter Carrier En Route to Australia

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.

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Rich Smith

As a defense writer for The Motley Fool, I focus on defense and aerospace stocks. My job? Every day of the week, I'm monitoring the news, figuring out the winners and losers, and tracking down the promising companies for you to invest in. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook for the most important developments in defense & aerospace, and other great stories.

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