It's going to be an impressive sight on the Williamstown horizon as these two big buggers (27,000ton full load) are built at Tenix over the next 5-7 years.
The biggest ships yet built for RAN
Brendan Nicholson, Canberra
June 20, 2007
AUSTRALIA'S two massive new amphibious landing ships will be built in Melbourne, bringing 500 new jobs to the Tenix shipyard at Williamstown and $500 million to the state's economy.
Able to carry 1000 troops and their equipment into battle virtually anywhere in the world, the Spanish-designed ships will cost more than $2 billion, part of $10 billion of defence spending approved by federal cabinet's national security committee late yesterday.
The decision to build the Spanish company Navantia's Juan Carlos design landing ship will ease some of the pain for Victorian shipbuilders who missed out on the lead role in the $7 billion-plus air warfare destroyer project, which went to South Australia.
Yesterday the committee also chose the Spanish F-100 air warfare destroyer rather than the bigger US "evolved" Arleigh Burke destroyer.
Senior naval officers had in recent months made it clear they wanted the 8000-tonne US ship because it would be fitted with 64 missile cells, compared with the 48 in the 6000-tonne Spanish destroyer.
But the Defence Materiel Organisation, which buys equipment for the armed forces, urged the Government to buy the Spanish ship because it was already in production, cheaper and carried less risk of delays or cost blow-out.
The Government has still to decide whether the destroyers will be fitted with advanced weapons able to destroy ballistic missiles in space.
The landing ships will be capable of carrying the army's new Abrams tanks and will dramatically expand the reach of the Australian Defence Force.
The landing ships will fill a major role in the creation of a potent "expeditionary" defence force able to fight at short notice anywhere in the world.
They will allow the Defence Force to send a brigade of more than 1000 troops with tanks, helicopters and other equipment around the world, protected by air warfare destroyers and submarines able to dominate hundreds of nautical miles of ocean.
Defence Minister Brendan Nelson said the landing ship decision would bring about 500 jobs to Victoria with another 60 spin-off jobs in SA. The project would bring about $500 million of industry work to Victoria.
The first ship will be launched in 2012 and the second in 2014.
The much more complex destroyer project will bring 1500 direct jobs to SA and 1500 elsewhere in Australia. The first destroyer will be ready in 2014, the second in 2016 and the third in 2017.