MADRID, July 6 (UPI) -- Australia's second amphibious landing helicopter dock ship has been launched by Spanish shipbuilder Navantia.
The launch at the company's facility comes more than four months ahead of schedule, allowing additional time for outfitting and testing before it is shipped to Australia for completion and delivery to the Royal Australian Navy by BAE Systems Australia, prime contractor on the LHD program.
Australia is acquiring two LHDs. Each will be more than 754 feet long, 90 feet high and weigh more than 27,000 tons. Operating as part of a combined battle group, they will carry more than 100 vehicles and a dozen helicopters.
Navantia said construction of the Adelaide began with the steel cutting ceremony in 2010. The keel was laid in February of last year.
According to Australian government officials the two LHD built by Navantia will be delivered to the Royal Australian Navy in 2014 and 2015 after BAE completes the integration of superstructure, hull, combat systems and communications systems.