Canberra class competition


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21 December 2008
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Before the Navantia-Tenix design won the Australian competition for their new Canberra class LHD/LHA there were several other designs. I'm looking for more information about one of the designs that lost (but which looed much better in my opinion, as it didin't have that huge ugly ski-jump...). I've already found a few images on the web, but if anyone has more (especially of the model) or even top view drawings, post them in this topic.


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The only other ship design considered for the RAN's Canberra class LHD competition was the French Mistral class. DCN partnered with ADI (now Thales Australia) to offer an Australian built Mistral. The Mistral may not have had an "ugly" ski jump but its vehicle decks are in a very ugly arrangement wrapped around the well dock. Truth that beauty is only skin deep.

EDIT: The pictures posted above is a Navantia design for an LHD. They developed two similar designs; one for a conventional flight deck landing ship (the LHD) and the other, larger design for a strategic projection ship that included STOVL capability.

The Australian Canberra class competition was by invitation only with both Navantia and DCN given contracts to develop LHD offers (they were identified as the only companies with a ship to meet the Australian requirement). Since Australia wanted to avoid risk they were to be based on off the shelf designs already in production.

The following link takes you to a Navantia popup about this ship:
If this played a significant part in the decision against adopting a French design for the COLLINS class, after the debacle of the SUCCESS: said:
DTCN were probably handicapped because of the history of HMAS Success. When the South Australians commented that transfer of technology to Australia from Germany or Sweden should be successful because of the strong use of English in those countries, they were indicating a weakness of the French bid. Inadequate documentation, resulting from problems in translation, had been held to be a cause of the difficulties in building Success.

I wonder what effect it had in the case of the CANBERRA decision?
rickshaw said:
I wonder what effect it had in the case of the CANBERRA decision?

Had nothing to do with it. The Success build was over 20 years ago by a yard that had a range of systematic problems, translation being one of them. The reason the Mistral lost was because it was an inferior ship and had a riskier build strategy.
LHD arrival in Port Phillip Bay
My understanding is that very early on Cavour was also in the mix. It was probably dropped once requirements solidified on a design with a well dock, noting however that this had not previously been a priority for the ADF with aviation capability, command and control, plus the ability to transport heavy equipment from port to port being what they desired rather than an over the beach capability. Even today with the well dock and landing craft the ADF makes it very clear the role of the LHDs is not opposed landings but the previous mentioned capabilities plus HADR.

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