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The Australian Navy's two new $1.5 billion ships are out of action with engine problems

HMAS Canberra, the largest ship ever built for the Royal Australian Navy. Photo: RAN.

At a total cost of $3 billion, the HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide are the pride of the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet, but the nation’s newest and largest ships are currently stranded in Sydney with engine problems.

The ABC reports that engineers are currently working to repair the propulsion systems on both 27,500-tonne Canberra-class Landing Helicopter Docks (LHDs), commissioned in 2014 and 2016, and the problem could take one or several weeks to repair.

The engine problems mean the Spanish-built ships — which carry up to six helicopters, have full medical facilities and are designed to provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief as well as combat capabilities — are unavailable as Cyclone Debbie bears down on the Queensland coast.

HMAS Choules, a Bay-class landing ship, left Sydney on Monday for Queensland in case assistance is required in the wake of the cyclone.

The Defence Department says there has been “no impact on Navy meeting its operational tasks” according to the ABC, and the problem was identified on HMAS Canberra during recent trials with helicopters.

A check of the HMAS Adelaide found similar problems.

“It is too early to determine the extent of this emergent work and Defence is working to identify the causes and develop a repair strategy,” Defence said in a statement.

The ABC has more here.

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