CANBERRA, Australia, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- BAE Systems will develop and deliver training for the Australian navy's landing helicopter dock ships under construction.
The training will rely heavily on simulation and virtual scenarios, including avatars, to lower training costs, BAE Systems Australia said.
"The most obvious benefit in using computer simulation is that the technology allows us to recreate, and for the crew to interact with, the LHD environment without the actual completed ship yet," BAE Systems Director of Maritime Harry Bradford said.
Around 30 BAE Systems employees will manage the training process for the LHD project for which BAE Systems is the prime contractor.
The first LHD hull is expected to arrive in Williamstown, South Australia, in August 2012. Delivery of the first training packages is expected in 2013, ahead of completion of the first ship in 2015.
Because the training system is computer-based, military personnel can be in different regions in the country and still have access to the facility, Bradford said.
"With training starting prior to delivery of the first ship, the flexibility of being able to train and familiarize defense forces at their home bases represents substantial cost savings for the Commonwealth (Australia)," he said.
Using the system for training for emergency situations also has a benefit, he said.
"We can recreate and test emergency procedures in a safe environment before procedures are implemented on the ship," Bradford said.
Bradford said the simulator programs can be adapted easily for other ships, including Australia's Air Warfare Destroyers, ANZAC class frigates and FFGs.
Work is under way on the development of some of the simulated training through KBR, a U.S. engineering, construction and private military contracting company formerly known as Kellogg Brown and Root.
BAE Systems said it recently awarded a contract to the Norwegian company Kongsberg Maritime for an engine room simulator for engineers who will serve aboard the LHDs.
The navy's two Canberra class Landing Helicopter Dock ships -- under construction -- are the Canberra and the Adelaide.
In 2007 a Spanish design was selected over one by the French company Direction des Constructions Navales.
In Spain, Navantia is responsible for construction of the ships from the keel to the flight deck. The hulls will be transported to Australia for completion by BAE Systems Australia.
Work on the Canberra started in late 2008 and the hull was launched in early 2011. Work on the Adelaide started last year. Both ships are to enter service by the end of 2015.
Australia also bought a third LHD ship, the U.K.-built Largs Bay.
The U.K. Department of Defense commissioned the Largs Bay in 2006. The vessel was built by Swan Hunter in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, northern England and named after Largs Bay in Ayrshire, Scotland.
It was commissioned into the British navy auxiliary in November 2006 and patrolled the seas around the British south Atlantic colony the Falkland Islands in 2008.
Australia finalized the purchase of the Largs Bay in May after the U.K. Ministry of Defense declared it surplus to its needs.