Royal Australian Navy’s landing helicopter dock HMAS Canberra is heading back to her home port in Sydney after almost three months at sea on a regional presence deployment through the Pacific.
In June, HMA Ships Canberra, Warramunga and Supply set sail on the regional presence deployment. HMAS Canberra sailed from Townsville with embarked forces from the Australian Army, His Majesty’s Armed Forces of Tonga and the Sri Lankan Marines to participate in Exercise Rim of the Pacific 2022 (RIMPAC).
During the transit to Hawaii, the HMA Ships sailed in formation with vessels from the United States and Japan during Exercise Noble Partners, enabling opportunities for interoperability between the three nations.
Sailing into Pearl Harbor on June 27, Canberra joined Warramunga and Supply and 25 other nations taking part in RIMPAC, the world’s largest biennial international maritime exercise.
The tactical sea phase of RIMPAC provided an opportunity for two United States MV-22B Osprey Aircraft and their crews to embark in an Australian amphibious ship. This marked the first time the MV-22B aircraft was embarked for an enduring period of time, a milestone for the Australian amphibious capability and the landing helicopter dock.
On completion of the three-week RIMPAC sea phase, HMAS Canberra sailed back into Pearl Harbor for a second port visit before continuing on with her deployment. Canberra and Warramunga departed Pearl Harbor to participate in Operation Render Safe working together on-station, off Nauru, where a Royal Solomon Islands Police Force explosive ordnance disposal officer joined specialist ADF members to dispose of World War 2-era unexploded ordnance.
Canberra provided a ‘Role 2 Enhanced’ hospital capability with its embarked Maritime Operation Health Unit, working with Warramunga’s MH-60R Seahawk helicopter to deliver aeromedical evacuation support to the disposal teams in Nauru, if required. On completion of the operation, Warramunga detached from the task group after 10 weeks sailing in company, members from both vessels lined the decks for a ‘Formation Foxtrot’ waving as Warramunga steamed past.
Canberra returned to Townsville on August 25 where the Australian Army embarked forces element returned to their home base of Queensland before continuing the transit to Fleet Base East.
Canberra returns to her home port of Fleet Base East, Sydney in early September.