Uncertain if Design Flaw is the Root Cause
The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is investigating whether problems with the propulsion systems in its two Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) vessels are due to design flaws or some other cause.
HMAS ADELAIDE and CANBERRA, commissioned in 2014-2015, are the largest vessels ever built for the RAN and at the time of their arrival were touted as the force’s ‘next generation.’ Currently, according to a briefing given by the navy on 19 May, oil leaks in the propulsion system are creating uncertainty over the vessels’ ability to participate in scheduled exercises in June.
Built by Navantia and with propulsion systems from Siemens, the LHDs form a major component of Australian maritime defence and power projection capability. Rear-Adm. Adam Grunsell, Head of Maritime Systems in the Capability acquisition and Sustainment Group, indicated the problem was serious but that it was as yet too early to determine whether the root cause is a design flaw.