The Dockwise heavy-lift ship Blue Marlin has safely arrived in Port Phillip Bay with the hull of the future HMAS Canberra, after a hazardous 12,000nm voyage from Spain. The operation to release and float off the helicopter landing ship was delayed for ten days by bad weather after which it was towed to the BAE Systems shipyard at Williamstown for outfitting. The second hull, Adelaide, is scheduled to be transported in early 2014.
At 230m in length, 32m wide and displacing 27,500 tonnes fully loaded, the Canberra class LHDs will become the largest warships ever built for the Royal Australian Navy. Designed primarily for amphibious operations and the strategic projection of land forces, they are to be jointly crewed by the Navy, Army and Air Force.
The flight deck will have six landing spots for the operation of NH90, S-70 Blackhawk or Tiger attack helicopters, enough hangar space for up to 11NH‑90 aircraft.