The commissioning of HMAS Canberra, a 27,000 tonne Landing Helicopter Dock, provides the Royal Australian Navy with one of the world’s most capable and sophisticated amphibious assault ships, Defence Minister David Johnston said.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony held at Garden Island, Sydney, Senator Johnston said HMAS Canberra was the largest warship ever built for the RAN and her introduction to the RAN fleet marked a “very proud day for the men and women serving in the senior service”.
HMAS Canberra is the first of two LHDs, a collaboration between the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) Spanish shipbuilder Navantia and BAE Systems – Maritime. The second LHD, NUSHIP Adelaide is planned to commission in 2016.
“HMAS Canberra incorporates lessons learnt from recent operations in East Timor and the Solomon Islands.
“This LHD is a true multi-purpose warship ideally configured to carry out humanitarian assistance or transport an embarked force complete with their equipment and aviation assets for a peacekeeping mission,” he said.
“These two ships together will be able land a force of more than 2000 personnel by helicopter and water craft, along with all their weapons, ammunition, vehicles and stores.”
The warship will be jointly crewed with personnel from Navy, Army and Air Force forming the ship’s company.
Both warships have state of the art medical facilities including operating theatres, an eight bed Critical Care Unit, a variety of wards, pathology and radiology services, an x-ray, pharmacy and dental facilities.
HMAS Canberra has deck space for six medium-size helicopters such as the MRH 90 Taipan or Black Hawk, and can support a mix of helicopter operations ranging from the smaller Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopter through to the much larger CH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopters.
Defence imagery of the event is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20143517
Mark Dodd (Minister Johnston’s Office) 0477 389 560
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999