The crane to carry the load

One of Australia’s largest cranes had to be constructed on Nelson Pier to undertake the heavy lifts for the LHD project


portrait crane for LHD feature


Taking four days to assemble on Nelson Pier, the combined mass of the crane, support steelwork and the load during the lift of the first LHD block is in excess of 1500 tonnes!

The crane is fitted with a 72 metre main boom and a 30.5 metre back mast for the superlift.  The 400 tonne hook fitted to the crane weighs 10 tonne and requires two hoist drums to operate. Each drum is fitted with 900 metres of 28mm wire rope.

It’s the third largest crane in Australia and had been used in:

• wind turbine erection

• mining

• civil works

While on route to the BAE Systems job from Queensland it was used to place 130 tonne box girders on the F3 Hunter Valley Freeway project.

What the Ministers say

The construction of the LHD is a significant milestone and is ensuring a new era for Defence’s amphibious force capability. This will further enhance our interoperability with United States forces Stephen Smith, Australian Minister for Defence
The LHDs are bigger than Australia’s last aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne, the flight deck on the LHD is as big as 24 tennis courts and could fit four ANZAC Class frigates. The LHD will be equipped with a hospital that could treat a town the size of Warrnambool and it generates enough electricity to power a city the size of Darwin Jason Clare, Australian Minister for Defence Materiel
It’s fantastic to have Ministers Smith and Clare visit BAE Systems' Williamstown shipyards. BAE Systems are well placed to lead this important project that is delivering jobs to Melbourne’s West Nicola Roxon, Attorney-General and Member for Gellibrand

Project overview

BAE Systems Australia is the prime contractor for the Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) project. The project involves the design and production of two 27,800 tonne Amphibious Assault Ships and an Integrated Logistics Support package

The integrated amphibious capability offered by the Landing Helicopter Dock has utility at all levels of military operations, including:

• presence or deterrence

• stabilisation and reconstruction operations

• policing operations

• special recovery operations

• warfighting

• sea lift

This fourth generation LHD will empower the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to exploit the synergy derived from combining sea, air and ground forces in the littoral manoeuvre space. The LHD will permit the ADF to apply unified effects at a time and place of political choice, entirely independent of shore infrastructure.

As the Prime Contractor and leader in naval systems integration, amphibious platforms and capability, we will manage the overall project in close cooperation with subcontractors Navantia, Saab and L-3 Communications.

Some key facts:

• The project involves approximately 850,000 design hours and 5.5 million build hours

• The LHD’s are the largest ships ever built for the Royal Australian Navy

• The LHD is 230.8m in length. If stood on its stern, it would be 20m shy of the Rialto Towers in Melbourne

• The LHD has crew and embarked force accommodation for 1403 people




LHD brochure

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