03/29/2015: HMAS Canberra is the latest addition to the Royal Australian Navy and introduces amphibious capability to the force.
According to the Royal Australian Navy, the Canberra is an important addition to the fleet.
HMAS Canberra is the lead ship of the two ship Canberra class Amphibious Assault Ships otherwise known as a Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD). Based on the Buque de Proyección Estratégica (Strategic Projection Ship) design by Spanish shipbuilders Navantia.
At 27,000 tonnes, the LHDs are the largest ships ever constructed for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and are being built by contractors BAE Systems Australia and Navantia. The ships will provide the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with one of the most capable and sophisticated air-land-sea amphibious deployment systems in the world.
The ships will contribute directly to the defence of Australia and its national interests, and also allow the ADF to provide large-scale humanitarian assistance, at home or in our region.
A conventional steel mono hull design is employed with the superstructure located on the starboard side of the flight deck. They are designed with the shallowest possible draft to operate in secondary ports and harbours as well as manoeuvre in the shallow waters common in the littoral regions.
There are four main decks; heavy vehicle, accommodation, hangar and light vehicles and flight decks.
The construction of the hull to the level of the flight deck and the majority of fit-out is being undertaken at Navantia’s shipyard in Ferrol, Spain. The hull was then transported by Heavy Lift Ship MV Blue Marlin to BAE Systems’s shipyard in Williamstown, Victoria for final construction and fit-out such as the consolidation of the superstructure and installation of the Combat and Communication Systems.
The first LHD was named Canberra in an official naval ceremony on 15 February 2013. Canberrais the third ship to bear the name after the Kent class heavy cruiser and Adelaide class guided missile frigate.
Contractor sea trials commenced in February 2014 and were completed in September 2014. The Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) accepted NUSHIP Canberra from BAE Systems in October 2014 and she sailed to her home port at Fleet Base East, Garden Island, Sydney later that month.
Canberra will be able to conduct amphibious operations and land a force of over 1,000 embarked personnel along with all their weapons, ammunition, vehicles and stores by LCM-1E landing craft, helicopters or a combination of both.
Canberra is capable of conducting large-scale humanitarian and disaster relief missions. The medical facility is of a size and scope of which would rival some regional hospitals equipped with two operating theatres, an eight bed Critical Care Unit, and a variety of low and medium dependency beds. In addition, the medical facility has dedicated areas to accommodate pathology and radiology services, x-ray, pharmacy and dental facilities.
Canberra carries the pennant number L02 and not L01, even though it was the first of its class to be built. Adelaide will carry pennant number L01. This is so the two ships’ pennant numbers will conform to the convention adopted with their namesakes in the Adelaide class.
HMAS Canberra was commissioned and joined the Royal Australian Navy fleet in an official ceremony at Fleet Base East, Sydney on 28 November 2014. In March 2015, HMAS Canberra was formally designated the flagship of the Royal Australian Navy.
In the video on the HMAS Canberra boarding party published by the Australian Ministry of Defense on March 23, 2015, the training for the boarding party is highlighted.
Credit Video: INSERT HERE
The South Koreans, the Japanese and the Australians are all adding amphibious capabilities to their defense forces which means in part that collaboration with the USN-USMC team in shaping regional concepts of operations involving amphibious ships will be worked interactively and collaboratively.