NUSHIP CANBERRA, one of two Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships being built for the Australian Defence Force (ADF), left BAE Systems Williamstown this morning bound for Sydney on the first period of sea trials.
Director of BAE Systems Maritime, Bill Saltzer said sea trials were the final stage of the project for BAE Systems before acceptance by the ADF later this year. He said the journey to Sydney would take approximately 12 days.
“The ship will undergo a series of tests before we hand it over to the ADF which includes both platform tests as well as testing the ship’s combat and communication systems,” he said.
“We will undertake approximately 240 hours over 16 days of testing on the ship and to ensure all systems perform to their capability.
“Some of the trials will run concurrently and cover everything from basic systems operations such as alarms, to the ships manoeuvrability while at sea.
“Trials will be conducted under a number of scenarios. Some trials need the ship in certain conditions and or water depths while other trials require systems in specific configurations.
“We will be testing things like how fast the ship can go and how long it takes to stop. We will also be looking at how much fuel the ship will use at different speeds and what its manoeuvrability will be in terms of speed during different swell and sea conditions.”
Mr Saltzer said first sea trial will cover the journey to Sydney and back to Williamstown. He said that while in Sydney the ship would be dry docked at Garden Island to have the hull cleaned prior to a final paint application and the deck painted prior to returning to Williamstown.
“Once back in Williamstown we will commence the final trials which will cover communication and combat systems,” he said.
The second LHD, NUSHIP ADELAIDE arrived in Williamstown on 12 February and preparation works for the consolidation of the superstructure are well underway.
“We are currently preparing for the heavy lift of the superstructure blocks which we expect to have in place by the end of March,” he said.
Mr Saltzer said the total mass of the crane and the counterweight was in excess of 800 tonnes. He said the combined mass of the crane, support steelwork and the load during the first lift of the LHD blocks would be in excess of 1500 tonnes. The first section of superstructure to be lifted weighed approximately 300 tonnes and would be lifted to a height of approximately 25 meters. It then needed to be placed in exactly the right position for it to be joined to the deck of the LHD.
The LHDs are the largest ship ever to be built for the ADF and operated by the RAN. BAE Systems is the Prime to deliver the project with subcontractors Navantia, which constructed the hulls in Spain, and SAAB and L3 which supplied the combat and communications systems respectively.