Navantia Australia completes LHD design upgrade

22 July 2020

(L-R) Lieutenant Michael Regan and Lieutenant Joshua Callan pilot an MRH-90 helicopter off the coast of Queensland in support of HMAS Adelaide’s First Of Class Flight Trials with the MH-60 Romeo helicopter. The trials will determine the safe operating limits of the Romeo helicopters on the Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) in a range of sea states and wind speeds at both day and night.
The training is essential and ensures Navy maintains its readiness to conduct Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations in support of the Australian public and our neighbours.

Earlier this month the baseline design drawings for Phase 2 (Forward Projector) of the Advanced Stabilised Glide Slope Indicator (ASGSI) project on the Canberra class Landing Helicopter Docks (LHD), were delivered by a team of Navantia Australia engineers, bringing the project to a close after 10+ long months and over 3,500 hours of engineering labour.

A consortium of Navy, CASG, Naval Ship Management, Owen International, AGI and Navantia Australia collaboratively worked through an engineering change to install the new Advanced SGSI system in a very tight timeline, which has restored the capability reliability. Navantia Australia performed all of the platform integration design necessary to integrate the ASGSI into the Canberra class LHD design.

The team began working on the project in September 2019 and delivered revisions to 27 LHD baseline engineering drawings, three Installation Work Packs as well as alignment documentation,

Advanced Stabilisation Glide Slope Indicator

test procedures, a detailed design report, Designer’s Certificate, Validation and Verification artefacts, PDR and DDR design reviews, and all the ILS deliverables required for Navy to operate and maintain this system.

Navantia Australia’s managing director, Mr Alfonso Garcia-Valdes stated “This integrated effort has been a real credit to Navantia and a good indication to Navy of how well our team is working together. The close working relationships, flexibility, and collaboration achieved a significant engineering change in under six months where routine changes occur in around 24 months.

“The ASGSI system had emerging obsolescence issues that were making supportability very difficult and causing concern for the LHD Aviation capability. Navantia Australia’s engineering design team were integral to achieving the change, readily accepted the challenge, but were agile in approach as problems such as material availability during COVID19 threatened restoration of the SGSI capability,” said Alfonso Garcia-Valdes.

The Forward ASGSI system is now fully installed on both HMA Ships Canberra and Adelaide and was recently used to support the First of Class Flight Trials for the MH-60R helicopters.

The Canberra class LHDs, also known as Amphibious Assault Ships, were designed by Navantia and constructed at Navantia’s Fene and Ferrol shipyards in Spain. The vessels were built up to the flight deck, launched and then transported to Australia where installation of the island superstructure and internal fitout was completed by BAE Systems Australia in Williamstown, Victoria.

The LHDs provide the Australian Defence Force with one of the most capable and sophisticated air-land-sea amphibious deployment systems in the world. These 27,000 tonne ships are able to land a force of over 1,000 personnel by helicopter and water craft, along with all their weapons, ammunition, vehicles and stores.

In June 2020, the Department of Defence recognised Navantia Australia as a Design Authority for four classes of Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ships under a Strategic Agreement Principles document. The Strategic Agreement strengthens the relationship between the Commonwealth of Australia and Navantia Australia and provides a framework to ensure that all current and future Navantia designed vessels in service with the RAN are adequately supported for their life of type. Under the agreement, Navantia Australia will provide platform system design and integration services, ensuring that the design integrity, configuration control, upgrades and modernisation of Navantia designed ships and supplied systems and equipment is fully supported in Australia.

Navantia’s productive partnership with the Royal Australian Navy began in Australia with the contracts to design the Hobart Class guided missile destroyers (DDG) and continued with the design and co-manufacture of the Canberra  Class LHDs, the design and construction of twelve LHD landing craft (LLC), and the recent contract to design, build and maintain two Supply  Class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment Ships (AOR).  Navantia Australia was established in 2012 to provide platform systems design and integration services to all four classes of ships.