Australian Defence Amphibious Ships Project


  1. Introduction
  2. The Ships
  3. Communications

    See Also

  4. F-35 Fighter
  5. USAV TSV-1X, High Speed US Army Transport Ship
  6. Other Transport Technology
  7. Home


Tenix-Navantia Landing Helicopter Dock Ship Cross Section Diagram

Navantia LHD

Note: Tenix/Navantia have won the contract, June 2007.

The Australian Defence Force is acquiring two new amphibious ships. Australian shipbuilders will build them to one of two overseas designs: Spanish "Navantia" or French "Armaris Mistral". The Navantia type has greater capacity but is at a less advanced stage of development. The decision is planned for 2007, with the first ship in in-service by 2012. The ships will be named HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide (Canberra class).

Under the defence project plan (JP2048), the ships are planned to carry 1000 personnel, six helicopters and 150 vehicles, including the M1A1 Abrams tank. These will replace both HMAS Manoora and HMAS Kanimbla. There will also be new landing craft and communications for the ships.

Armaris Ship, Photo Copyright Armaris, 10 August 2005

Armaris Mistral Class LHD

While described as "Landing Helicopter Dock" (LHD) ships, both ships look to the lay person like small aircraft carriers. While half the size of US LHD ships (Wasp Class), they will be more than twice the size of the ships they are replacing and could be equipped to operate fixed wing V/STOL aircraft. The Spanish design has a "ski jump" on the flight deck for the AV-8B Harrier II, and may be able to operate the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. The French design would require modification.

The Ships

The two ships being considered are slightly larger than the RAN's Majestic class light aircraft carriers HMAS Melbourne and HMAS Sydney, the last of which was paid off for disposal in 1973.

HMAS Melbourne20,00021424

The two consortia have extensive web sites about their proposed designs:

Note: The consortia deleted their web sites after the contract decision. These copies are from the Internet Archive.

Length overall221.4 m
Maximum breadth32.0m
Breadth on the waterline26.9 m
Displacement full load with m. future25,790 t
Draft full load6.0 m
PropulsionElectrical diesel, 4 groups
Engines2 X POD
Maximum speed19 kn
Sustained speed18 kn
Range at9,000 mn a 15 kn
Complement (S/mission)60 persons + 70 complementary

From: LHD/LHA, Navantia 2005

French Armaris "Mistral Class"

Length:653 ft
Width:105 ft
Beam:105 ft
Displacement:21,000 tons
Propulsion:4 Wartsila diesel engines, 2 PODS (2 Mermaid elec. motors, )
Speed:19 knots
Airwing:16 Rotary, vstol
Armament:2 X 2 Simbad SAM - 2 X 30mm CIWS

From: Mistral class, Jeff Head, 2005

The Federal Government has approved the first stage of the $2 billion Amphibious Ships project which will provide Navy with a world class capability to deploy land forces on operations.

Defence Minister Robert Hill said the project will provide Navy with two new amphibious ships to be used on operations such as combat operations, regional disaster relief, humanitarian aid, peacekeeping and peace monitoring, and assistance to policing or military operations.

Australian shipbuilders will be invited to tender for either or both of two designs:

"Each ship will preferably have the ability to transport up to 1000 personnel, have six helicopter landing spots and provision for a mix of troop lift and armed reconnaissance helicopters. It will also be able to transport up to 150 vehicles including the new M1A1 Abrams tanks and armoured vehicles," Senator Hill said.

"Each ship will also be equipped with medical facilities, including two operating theatres and a hospital ward." ...

GOVERNMENT APPROVES FIRST STAGE OF AMPHIB SHIPS PROJECT, Media Release, Minister for Defence, 11 August 2005


... Project SEA 1442 Phase 3 Maritime Communications and Information Management Architecture Modernisation (MCIMAM) ... seeks to provide the Royal Australian Navy with a maritime communications and information system (CIS) to meet the ADF's CIS requirements for maritime operations for 2015 and beyond. The Program will deliver a network enabled capability to support Navy's objective of fighting and winning at sea. The Program will develop and evolvable CIS architecture that will address the current disparate and 'stovepipe' CIS systems. It will integrate existing and new communications bearers and information systems into a coherent system to deliver information including voice, video and data for the warfighter at sea.

The Program will maximise the capabilities being delivered to Maritime platforms by other communications projects such as MILSATCOM (JP 2008 Phase 3E ASTIS), High Frequency Radio Modernisation (HFMOD JP 2043) and Task Group WAN/LAN At Sea (NMP 1772). The SEA 1442 CIS Architecture will be used by Navy to guide new ship projects such as SEA 4000 (Maritime Air Warfare Capability), JP2048/JP2027 (Amphibious Deployment and Sustainment Capability) and SEA 1654 (Maritime Operations Support Capability).

Maritime Communications and Information Management Architecture Modernisation, SEA 1442 Phases 2B, 3 and 4, Request For Tender 2004/017, DMO, 2004

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