Royal Australian Navy’s Second Canberra-class LHD sets off for Sea Trials

DG Williamstown AUS

Satellite imagery from 03 August 2014 acquired by DigitalGlobe shows HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide at BAE’s Williamstown shipyard in Victoria, Australia.

The Canberra class amphibious assault ships are the largest vessels ever constructed for Australia, and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) recently sent the second vessel, the HMAS Adelaide (L01), off for sea trials in mid-June.

The 230 meter vessel left BAE Systems’ shipyard in Williamstown on 17 June and reportedly made its way to Sydney within ten days. Upon arrival, the Adelaide was dry docked at the well-known Captain Cook graving dock for flight deck cleaning and painting. On the way back to Williamstown the vessel will finish the planned trials. [1]

During a twenty day testing period at sea, the crew will undertake various tasks and scenarios taking over 240 hours to complete, according to Bill Saltzer, BAE Systems Director of Maritime. “[T]he trials […] cover everything from basic systems operations such as alarms, to the ship’s maneuverability while at sea,” he said in a statement.

A second set of sea trials will commence in August and test the ship’s communication and combat systems. Upon successful completion, the HMAS Adelaide will join the lead vessel, HMAS Canberra, previously commissioned and handed over to the Navy in November 2014.

The Canberra is home ported in Sydney at the RAN’s Fleet Base East.

DG (06MAY15) Captain Cook  RAN FBE

Satellite imagery from 06 May 2015 shows the HMAS Canberra in the Graving Dock on Garden Island in Sydney.

“The introduction of Australia’s two new Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock Ships […] will be a significant milestone in the development of the Australia Defense Force’s capacity to deploy and sustain military power across a range of contingencies,” notes a 2013 Defense Whitepaper.

“They will improve interoperability with the United States and regional partners and enhance Australia’s capacity to respond quickly and authoritatively in a range of crises,” the paper went on to say.

Nothing perhaps exemplifies this intent to watchers more than Australia’s participation in the Talisman Saber exercises. These joint exercises with the US occur biennially and routinely feature an amphibious assault component. And this year, defense forces from New Zealand and Japan joined for the first time.

The growing emphasis on amphibious operations has been an important element in Australia’s military doctrine. These latest ships complement the Army’s concept Manoeuvre Operations in the Littoral Environment which views joint operations as essential to success.

The Canberra class is based on Navantia’s Juan Carlos I aircraft carrier design and was a joint production project with Spain. The vessels replace RAN’s older Kanimbla-class amphibious landing platforms (previously Newport-class tank landing ships) which were decommissioned in 2011.

RAN is expecting delivery of the Adelaide by end of September this year.


[1] According to the vessel’s automatic identification system, the Adelaide has departed Sydney and is already on the way back (see also here):

Marine Traffic (09JUL15) Adelaide

This entry was posted in Australia, English, Intelligence, International, Sea Powers, Security Policy.

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