FERROL, Spain, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Spanish shipbuilder Navantia has launched the hull of a Canberra class Landing Helicopter Dock ship for BAE Systems Australia.
When completed, the LHD will be Australia's largest warship.
The hull was built up to the flight deck. The superstructure is being built at BAE's facility at Williamstown, Victoria, Australia.
The hull will arrive at BAE Systems Williamstown Dockyard in August 2012.
The hull launch marks another important milestone in the construction of Landing Helicopter Dock ships HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide.
BAE Systems Australia is contracted by the Australian government to deliver two, 27,000-ton Canberra Class LHD ships by 2015. The company is managing the total project in close cooperation with the government and subcontractors Navantia, Saab and L-3 Communications.
"In scale and complexity, this is the most challenging prime systems integration task ever undertaken for the (Australian military) in Australia," said BAE Australia's Maritime Business Unit Director Harry Bradford.
"Steel cutting and block manufacture for the superstructure and combat system integration for the ship has already begun at Williamstown.