The Australian Department of Defence has announced that the Royal Australian Navy’s landing helicopter docks have reached final operational capability.
The Canberra-class amphibious deployment systems are now ready to carry out operations such as amphibious warfare, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief.
Australia Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said: “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.”
The 230m-long ships, which are home-ported at Garden Island, Sydney, can support up to six helicopters.
In addition, the landing helicopter docks can accommodate four small landing craft. The 27,500t Canberra-class ships can cruise at a speed of more than 20k.
RAN Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Michael Noonan said: “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.”
The Canberra-class platforms are the largest vessels ever constructed for the RAN.
BAE Systems Australia was the primary contractor for the programme. Spanish company Navantia was tasked with performing the design and construction of the ships.
Other subcontractors in the project include Saab and L-3 Communications.
The lead ship in the class, HMAS Canberra, was commissioned in November 2014, while the second ship, HMAS Adelaide, was commissioned in December 2015.
Earlier this year, the RAN performed the embark of an M1A1 main battle tank onboard HMAS Canberra for the first time.