The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) first of two landing helicopter dock (LHD) vessels, Nuship Canberra, has successfully completed contractor sea trials, paving the way for its scheduled commissioning on 28 November.
The sea trials were held in Port Phillip Bay and off the southern coast of New South Wales, and involved a test of the vessel’s combat and communication systems, in addition to some platform system assessments.
Mainly aimed at enabling the vessel’s future crews to familiarise themselves with the ship prior to their training at BAE Systems’ Mascot facility, the tests also offered valuable feedback related to the effectiveness of the training programme.
Canberra commanding officer captain Jonathan Sadleir said: "The coming three months mark the completion of a significant project milestone in terms of delivering the first landing helicopter dock (LHD) into [the] navy, but will also mark the beginning of a new platform in our fleet that will shift and grow the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) capability to a completely new level.
"I sense a huge shift in the ship’s company this month as we make final preparations to go to Williamstown and embark in the ship."
Prior to the delivery, Duty Watch teams will also be certified to allow them to maintain the vessel in harbour, while the vessel will also undergo a period of ‘fast cruising’ before leaving Williamstown.
The ‘fast cruising’ phase involves testing the vessel’s watch and station bill, while the onboard personnel will execute scenarios such as leaving harbour, a man overboard or a mechanical breakdown, which will be done when it is docked at the wharf.
Sadleir added: "Duty Watch certification will see us starting to bring the rest of the fleet with us on the learning journey the ship’s company has been travelling for the last 18 months.
"Apart from Duty Watch certification, we will also be storing the ship. This is a huge evolution that requires careful planning and a team focus."
The 27,000t, 757ft-long Nuship Canberra can accommodate 1,000 troops, in addition to helicopters and water craft, along with all their weapons, ammunition, vehicles and stores.
Cruising at a maximum speed of more than 20k with a 9,000nm range, the vessel is reportedly the largest ever built for the ADF.
Both can be deployed to carry out large-scale humanitarian and disaster relief missions.
Image: The LHD NUSHIP Canberra passing through Sydney Heads for the first time. Photo: courtesy of the Royal Australian Navy.