Australian Navy Canberra-class LHDs achieve full operational capability

The Royal Australian Navy’s two Canberra-class landing helicopter docks (LHDs) and their associated landing craft have achieved final operational capability.

HMAS Adelaide and her sister ship HMAS Canberra sail in company through heavy seas in the East Australian exercise area off the coast of NSW. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

The entire amphibious capability acquired under Joint Project 2048 – including HMA Ships Adelaide and Canberra, their 12 landing craft and amphibious supporting organisations – achieved the milestone in early November, confirming their ability to deliver and deploy the full scope of amphibious operations.

One of the officers on board Canberra, officer of the watch Sub Lieutenant Erika Peters, has been part of the ship’s company for the past 11 months.

“This year has been a busy year for Canberra and its crew, with the deployment on Indo-Pacific Endeavour our longest and most distant deployment to date, visiting India, Sri Lanka and countries across South-East Asia,” Sub Lieutenant Peters said.

“We have been involved in a number of foreign interactions and engagements, which all helped us to build strong relationships with our international counterparts and develop as a highly reliable and effective ship.

“It is a unique experience to be part of one of only two landing helicopter docks, especially due to the size of the ship and its deployable capabilities.”

As the centerpiece of Australia’s amphibious force, the Canberra-class have the ability to complete operations from amphibious warfare through to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

At 230 meters long and with a possible speed of more than 20 knots, the 27,500-tonne LHDs are highly reliable and effective ships with capabilities that include six helicopter positions and four integral ship-to-shore connectors, which are able to carry all of army’s in-service vehicles, including the M1A1 main battle tank.

This year, for the first time, both ships participated in exercise Talisman Sabre.

Canberra has returned to her home port at Garden Island, while Adelaide is deployed to the South-West Pacific.