Canberra shows the way for next era

This article has photo gallery Published on LSIS Helen Frank (author and photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Cerberus, HMAS Canberra (L02)

HMAS Canberra has demonstrated her amphibious capacity for the latest cohort of trainee sailors, using her landing craft to transport nearly 350 personnel across Western Port Bay, Victoria.
 (photo: LSIS Helen Frank)
HMAS Canberra has demonstrated her amphibious capacity for the latest cohort of trainee sailors, using her landing craft to transport nearly 350 personnel across Western Port Bay, Victoria.

HMAS Canberra has demonstrated her amphibious capacity for the latest cohort of trainee sailors, using her landing craft to transport nearly 350 personnel across Western Port Bay, Victoria.

The landing craft from Canberra were used for the exercise, giving new sailors a taste of life on board one of Navy's largest amphibious ships.

Once on board Canberra the visitors were treated to a tour of the ship where they saw helicopter and dock operations, hospital facilities and general living conditions.

Canberra has been off the Australian east coast conducting Exercise OCEAN EXPLORER and internal training after a reduced activity period. 

The movement of the cohort of recruits, staff and trainees from HMAS Cerberus provided the perfect opportunity for some amphibious training for the ship's company of Canberra

Recruit Dedan Granger, who had been at Recruit School for only four days, said he couldn't believe he would be part of the working life of the Navy's largest ship so early in his career.

"The ride in the landing craft was awesome," he said.

"It really woke me up to what I could be doing once I finished Recruit School."

The ship has four landing craft that can each take a maximum of 170 personnel but Canberra's Amphibious Operations Officer, Major Mathew Singers, said they rarely need to operate at full capacity.

"For operational efficiency we normally limit each boat to 120 personnel with full combat load or about 100 personnel for general transport," he said.

"With landing craft working from both lanes of the well dock, we could debark or embark 1,200 personnel per hour."

The landing craft are a significant part of the ship's capability. They have an endurance of 190 nautical miles and can run 24 hours a day. Usual cycling is 12 hours, to provide crew rest and time for maintenance.

Adding to the ship's versatility is the ability to conduct multi spot aircraft operations.

"With all six spots operating we can lift 60 personnel or two infantry platoons with the MRH-90 helicopter," Major Singers said.

The Canberra class amphibious ships are capable of complex amphibious operations including non-combatant evacuations and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. 

Canberra will take part in Exercise RIM OF THE PACIFIC (RIMPAC) in June this year, which will be the ship's first international deployment.