Fifteen people from NUSHIP Canberra received an up close look at the Command Ship of the United States Navy 7th Fleet, USS Blue Ridge, which visited Sydney this week.
Blue Ridge is the United States 7th Fleet Flagship and is comparable in physical size to Canberra. The tour gave personnel an exciting insight into the sheer size and scale of the ship they will soon serve in.
Canberra personnel took the opportunity to learn about the command and control structure onboard Blue Ridge as a result of having Commander 7th Fleet embarked. Also included in the tour was a visit to the bridge, flight deck with embarked helicopters on show, and the junior sailors mess deck (cafeteria).
Around 300 personnel have now joined to form the ship's company of the first of the new Landing Helicopter Dock ships, NUSHIP Canberra (LHD 02). The Canberra team is in full swing undertaking required training, developing standard operating procedures and policies, and all that is required to bring a new class of ship into service the size and scale not ever seen before in the ADF.
Canberra will be able to land a force of over 1000 personnel by helicopter and water craft, along with all their weapons, ammunition, vehicles and stores. This new joint amphibious capability is a quantum leap for the Navy and the wider Defence Force.
Canberra is scheduled to be accepted by the Commonwealth by the first quarter of 2014 and gain ‘initial operational capability’ by the end of 2014.
Blue Ridge and the embarked United States 7th Fleet staff arrived in Sydney on 13 July 2013 ahead of participation in Exercise TALISMAN SABRE 2013.
Additional imagery is available at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20130794.