HMAS Adelaide (L01) Canberra-class commissioned: Juan Carlos I Spanish Navy vessel

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Adelaide commissioned. Finally, and after many problems the LHD HMAS Adelaide (L01), inspired by  the Juan Carlos I Spanish Navy vessel, has been commissioned on 4th December 2015 and represents  the second of two Canberra-class landing helicopter dock (LHD) ships for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). It is interesting to note that this vessel seems to be a Spanish product. The construction of the ship was initiated at Navantia’s Spanish shipyard with steel-cutting in February 2010. The recently commissioned ship HMAS Adelaide was laid down in February 2011, and launched on 4 July 2012.


HMAS Adelaide L01 sailing in Australian coastal sea

The expected delivery to Australia for fitting out at BAE Systems Australia’s facilities in Victoria was delayed until early 2014. Although it was been commissioned, it would not be in service until 2016.

The Canberra-class unique design is based on the warship Juan Carlos I, built by Navantia for the Spanish Navy. Adelaide has the same physical dimensions as Juan Carlos I, but differs in the design of the island superstructure and the internal layout, in order to meet Australian conditions and requirements.

Reader can see the similarities with the L61 Juan Carlos I vessel in this picture.

Spanish ship Juan Carlos I L61 in Ferrol coastal waters (spain).

Spanish ship Juan Carlos I L61 in Ferrol coastal waters (spain).

This LHDs can transport 1,046 soldiers and their equipment. Adelaide will be capable deploying a reinforced company of up to approx. 220 soldiers at a time by airlift.Two vehicle decks (one for light vehicles, the other for heavy vehicles and tanks) have areas of 1,880 square metres (20,200 sq ft) and 1,410 square metres (15,200 sq ft) respectively, and between them can accommodate up to 110 vehicles.

The flight deck can operate:

  • Six MRH-90-size helicopters or
  • Four Chinook-size helicopters.
  • A mix of MRH-90 transport helicopters and S-70B Seahawk anti-submarine helicopters will be carried: up to eight can be stored in the hangar deck, and the light vehicle deck can be repurposed to fit another ten.
  • The ski-jump ramp of Juan Carlos I has been retained for the RAN ships, although fixed-wing flights operations are not planned for the ships.

Although it has been identified as “LHD02″ during construction, Adelaide received finally the ID number “L01″ on commissioning; the pennant number corresponding to that used by the frigate.

what is pennant number?: 

In the Royal Navy and other navies of Europe and the Commonwealth of Nations, ships are identified by pennant number (an internationalisation of pendant number, which it was called before 1948). Historically, naval ships flew a flag that identified a flotilla or type of vessel. For example, the Royal Navy used a red burgee for torpedo boats and a pennant with an H for torpedo boat destroyers. Adding a number to the type-identifying flag uniquely identified each ship.

In the current system, a letter prefix, called a flag superior, identifies the type of ship, and numerical suffix, called a flag inferior, uniquely identifies an individual ship. Not all pennant numbers have a flag superior.

▽ Royal Australian Navy



Frigate Surface Force
The Australian Navy Frigate
Surface Force


HMAS Collins-class Rankin

Submarine Force
The Australian Navy
Submarine Force



Amphibious Force
The Australian Navy
Amphibious Force



Patrol Force
The Australian Navy
Patrol Force


HMAS Ballarat

MineHunting Force
The Australian Navy
Mine Warfare Force


HMAS Stuart

Replenishment and Survey Force
The Australian Navy
Replenishment and Survey Force



Training Ships and other Non-Commissioned Units
The Australian Navy Training Ships
and Other Non-Commissioned Units

▽Warships in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN)

Frigate surface Force (11): The principal striking force of the RAN comes from the eleven frigates of the surface force: eight of them belong to the Anzac class and the rest (three) are units from the Adelaide class.

Submarine Striking Force (6): The RAN operates six Collins-class submarines. Due to technical and manpower problems these submarines might be replaced in the future by Japanese Soryu-class submarines.

Amphibious Force (3): There are a huge variety of amphibious warfare units, which include two Canberra-class landing helicopter dock ships and the landing ship HMAS Choules.

Patrol Boat Force (13): There are thirteen Armidale-class patrol boats that perform coastal and economic exclusion zone patrols.

Mine Hunting and Warfare Force (4 + 2 in reserve):
There are four Huon-class vessels that are used for minehunting and clearance (another two are commissioned but in reserve since October 2011).

Replenishment Force (2 + 6 survey duties):
The task for replenishment at sea is provided by two ships, Sirius and Success. In addition, there are two Leeuwin-class and four Paluma-class vessels perform survey and charting duties.

Training Units (1 + 1 support vessel + 2 patrol boats):
The RAN operates the sail training ship Young Endeavour, the support vessel ADV Ocean Shield, and two Cape-class patrol boats. The latter ones are acquired thanks to the Australian Border Force.

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