CANBERRA, Australia, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Navantia has floated the first of 12 LCM-1E fast landing craft that the Spanish company is building in Spain for the Australian navy.
The LCM craft, based on landing craft Navantia built for the Spanish navy, will be used on Australia's two Canberra-class landing helicopter dock amphibious assault ships -- the Canberra and Adelaide -- under construction for Australia by Navantia.
Navantia signed the LCM contract in December 2011 and is building the craft at facilities in the Bay of Cadiz.
Speed of the 76-foot craft is more than 20 knots through two MAN 809 kW diesel engines using waterjet propellers
Australia's navy will use the craft to transport troops and equipment including heavy vehicles where no port facilities exist and can operate a possible 190 miles at full load, a statement by Navantia said.
LCM-1E craft feature radar navigation, a global positioning system and gyro needle/magnetic and HF communications equipment.
Delivery and commissioning of the first four craft are scheduled for April next year, around the same time as the expected commissioning of the Canberra LHD vessel.
Commissioning of the Adelaide LHD is set for 2015.
Navantia is building the hulls for the 755-foot LHD vessels under a joint project with BAE Systems Australia.
Around 80 percent of hull construction for both LHD ships is being done at the Fene-Ferrol shipyard in Spain.
BAE is integrating the superstructure, hull, combat systems and communications systems at its facilities in Australia.
Each 27,000 ton LHD can carry a combined armed battlegroup of more than 1,000 personnel, 100 armored vehicles and 12 helicopters.
The LHD ships also will be used to support humanitarian missions.
Armaments for the LHDs are 6mm x 12.7mm machine guns, a Nulka active missile decoy system, an anti-torpedo towed defense system and four 20mm automated guns.
Navantia created a wholly owned subsidiary Navantia Australia two years ago to capture a greater share of military contracts, the company statement said.
Navantia also is involved in designing the three ships for Australia's Hobart-class Air Warship Destroyer project.
The consortium AWD Alliance is constructing the 6,250-ton Hobart-class vessels under a contract estimated around $8 billion.
AWD Alliance is made up of the Defense Materiel Organization, Australian shipbuilder ASC and Raytheon Australia, with the main combat system being supplied by Aegis.
Each ship, 483-feet-long, is being assembled at ASC's facility in Osborne, South Australia, from 31 pre-fabricated modules built at ASC and other contractors.
The minister for Defense Materiel announced in July the final keel module -- block -- for the Hobart, had been lifted into place by AWD Alliance in Adelaide.
Range of the ships is estimated to be around 5,800 miles and power will be from a combination of two General Electric gas turbine marine engines and two Caterpillar Bravo diesel engines.
Australia's Defense Ministry hopes to commission the Hobart in early 2016, the Brisbane in September 2017 and the Sydney in March 2019, a report by ABC News said in September last year.