The Royal Australian Navy’s Canberra-class Landing Helicopter Docks (LHDs) achieved final operational capability, the Australian Department of Defence announced on Nov. 12.
The Canberra class consists of two LHD ships, HMAS Canberra (L02) and HMAS Adelaide (L01). The vessels are home-ported at Fleet Base East in Garden Island, Sydney.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said HMA Ships Adelaide and Canberra are ready to be deployed on amphibious operations such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and amphibious warfare.
“The Australian Defence Force’s amphibious capability is an integral part of Australia’s strategic posture and this milestone is another step in Navy’s roadmap to delivering amphibious excellence,” Minister Reynolds said.
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan AO, RAN, said Navy is closer to achieving a resilient, sustained and integrated Navy supported by our workforce, as outlined in the Plan Pelorus strategy for 2022.
“As we transition to a more technologically advanced Navy, our goal is to be capable of conducting sustained combat operations as part of a Joint Force,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.
The Canberra class design is based on Spanish Navy amphibious assault ship Juan Carlos I built by Navantia. Canberra-class have 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.
The Canberra-class LHDs are 230-metres long and have a maximum speed of more than 20 knots. With a displacement of 27,500 tonnes, they are the largest vessels ever operated by the RAN. Each ship has the ability to support six helicopters, and four small landing crafts which are able to carry Army’s M1A1 Abrams main battle tank.
The construction of the first vessel, HMAS Canberra, commenced in late 2008, with the hull launched in early 2011, and sea trials in early 2014. Canberra was commissioned in November 2014. Work on the second vessel, HMAS Adelaide, started in early 2010. Adelaide was commissioned in December 2015.
Although identified as “LHD01” during construction, Canberra received the pennant number “L02” on commissioning; the pennant number corresponding to that used by the frigate of the same name. And Adelaide received the pennant number “L01”.