June 25, 2007:
Australia has decided on which of
the competing designs to use for its two new amphibious ships. The winner is
the Spanish Navantia class LHD. This is
a 27,000 ton ship that is very similar to the U.S. San Antonio class LPD. The
Navantia is 686 feet long, has a crew of about 140 and can carry up to a
thousand troops, 150 vehicles, two landing craft and at least six helicopters.
The Navantia's are twice the size of the two amphibious ships Australia is
replacing, and has a ski-jump flight deck that will enable it to use vertical
takeoff warplanes like the Harrier or F-35B. The Navantia's will cost about
$1.2 billion each. Australia will receive the first of these LHDs, to be called
the Canberra, in five years. The hulls will be built in Spain, then
shipped to Australia for the addition of
the superstructure and installation of all other equipment.