HMAS Adelaide (L01) is the second of two Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) warships being readied for service with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The vessel is part of the new Canberra-class LHD group that includes lead ship HMAS Canberra (L02) which was commissioned in November of 2014. Adelaide is expected to follow sometime in 2016. Named after the Australian city of Adelaide, HMAS Adelaide is the third ship to carry the designation - the first being a light cruiser of 1918 and the second a frigate seen during the Cold War.
In the last decade, the Australian government approved construction of two new LHD warships to help strengthen the RAN inventory against then-current requirements and growing regional threats (such as that posed by China). This initiative produced the Canberra-class which is based on the same Spanish design that begat "Juan Carlos I" commissioned into the Spanish navy during 2010 (the French Mistral-class series was also under consideration). The building of HMAS Adelaide became a joint effort between Spanish shipbuilder Navantia and BAe Systems of Australia to which her keel was laid down on February 18th, 2011 and the partially-completed vessel was put out to water on July 4th, 2011. Her service will see her based out of Fleet Base East near Port Jackson of Sydney and her pennant number will be "L01".
When completed, HMAS Adelaide will displace in the 30,300 tons (short) range and feature a length of 757 feet, a beam of 105 feet, and a draught of 23 feet. Its standard operating crew numbers 358 made up of 293 RAN, 62 Army, and 3 Air Force personnel. Her propulsion machinery is made up of a COmbined Diesel and Gas (CODAG) arrangement which features 1 x General Electric LM2500 gas turbine with 2 x MAN 16V32/40 diesel generators for better efficiency depending on the speeds required. There are 2 x Siemens azimuth thrusters for more precise maneuvering of the large craft. Maximum speed in ideal conditions is expected to reach just over 20 knots with a cruising speed being 15 knots. Maximum operational range is listed at 9,000 nautical miles.
At the heart of modern LHDs is flight deck and cargo hold. For the latter, Adelaide supports up to 110 military-grade vehicles across a two-deck arrangement and features space for up to 1,046 combat-ready troops. For humanitarian missions, this means the vessel can support hundreds of displaced civilians as well as medical staff. Adelaide carries four mechanized landing craft to support amphibious operations as its land forces go ashore (as well as smaller, team-personal watercraft like RIBs). The flight deck can launch / recover up to eighteen helicopters while its typical ocean-going configuration will see it field eight from six inline landing pads the flight deck (portside). A 13-degree angled "ski jump" ramp at the bow is expected to support the launching of fixed-wing - the American Lockheed F-35 Lightning II 5th Generation Fighter being the primary consideration for this feature. The island superstructure is set to starboard in conventional fashion.
Self-defense against sea- and air-launched missile threats will see Adelaide outfitted with an Electronic Warfare (EW) suite that includes the AN/SLQ-25 "Nixie" towed torpedo decoy as well as the "Nulka" missile decoy system respectively. Close-in defense is being handled through 4 x 25mm Raphael Typhoon series Remote Weapon Systems (RWSs) and extreme close-in defense will be through 6 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns. The Saab "GIRAFFE" radar and Saab 9LV combat system will provide the necessary situational awareness on the modern battlefield. Additionally, Adelaide will benefit from any support vessels and aircraft in her fleet when undertaking hazardous amphibious assault operations.
February 2015 - HMAS Adelaide remains under construction in Australian waters. Her initial commissioning year was intended to be 2015 but delays have pushed her debut back until the following year. Should all go as planned, HMAS Adelaide will feature heavily in future Australian naval power projection in the Asia-Pacific region as well as in RIMPAC participation, humanitarian efforts, and peacekeeping initiatives worldwide.
December 2015 - HMAS Adelaide (L01) was officially commissioned for service in the Royal Australian Navy on December 4th, 2015. She currently makes her homeport out of Fleet Base East.