CANBERRA, Australia, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- The Australian government has approved the purchase of 12 Navantia watercraft for the navy's Canberra class landing helicopter dock ships.
Australian Minister for Defense Stephen Smith and Minister for Defense Materiel Jason Clare said the government had approved the enhancement of information and technology infrastructure at the military's Headquarters Joint Operations Command.
Navantia, which has headquarters in Spain, is building the hulls for the LHDs and the medium-sized, fast landing craft will be purpose-built for these ships.
The watercraft will enable transport of troops and equipment from the LHDs to shore, including locations where there are no fixed port facilities.
The delivery of the first batch of four watercraft will be coordinated with the delivery of the first LHD, expected in 2014. Construction of the LHDs is under way in Spain and Australia.
The LHDs are 754.5 feet long and can carry a combined armed battlegroup of more than 1,000 personnel, 100 armored vehicles and 12 helicopters.
The government has also approved enhancements to information and communications technology infrastructure at Headquarters Joint Operations Command as well as software upgrades to better support military planning.
The enhanced command and control system will allow better communication between operations staff and troops, particularly commanders and Special Forces.
The ministers said the Department of Defense would purchase commercial off-the-shelf hardware and software products, which would be integrated to meet requirements.