HMAS Canberra

The Royal Australian Navy‘s (Ran) landing helicopter dock vessel (LHD) HMAS Canberra has successfully completed the first of a series of intensive training and assessment periods.

Marking a major step towards being fully operational, the vessel will now be able to carry out disaster relief and permissive non-combatant evacuation operations.

Commodore Michael Rothwell from the RAN training organisation said: "Not only is Canberra Australia’s biggest warship to enter service, she provides the Australian Defence Force with one of the most capable and sophisticated air-land-sea amphibious deployment systems in the world.

"This is a new capability for us and to optimise the use of this impressive ship requires a significant effort in training our people who bring the ship to life through skilful and professional execution of their tasks."

The vessel has already completed helicopter trials, which set operating limits for the landing helicopter dock’s six spot flight deck.

In May, the Sea Training Group of the navy began assessing the vessels capabilities off the New South Wales coast.The first stage of assessment focussed on core maritime competencies.

During the second stage, which was conducted in and around Queensland, the vessel accommodated a large number of people and vehicles for the first time.

"To optimise the use of this impressive ship requires a significant effort in training our people."

The ship will perform amphibious operations in series of exercises between August and October off the Queensland coast.

The vessel is expected to achieve unit readiness across all its capabilities later this year.

The 230m-long Canberra-class LHDs, the largest ships ever built for the RAN, are capable of carrying more than 1,100 personnel, 100 armoured vehicles, and 12 helicopters.

The vessel will feature four 20mm automated guns, six 12.7mm machine guns, anti-torpedo towed defence system, and Nulka active missile decoy system.

Image: Staff on the bridge of HMAS Canberra as the ship enters Townsville Harbour. Photo: courtesy of Royal Australian Navy / LSIS Helen Frank.