Canberra Class

Canberra class landing helicopter dock

The Canberra class is a ship class of two Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships built for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Planning to upgrade the navy’s amphibious fleet began in 2000, based on Australian experiences leading the International Force for East Timor peacekeeping operation. With a new climate for growing Australian Navy spending, a desire existed for forward defense capability for landing and supporting troops on Asian territory, that had never existed in Australian history, even with the old Majestic-class light fleet carriers, HMAS Melbourne and HMAS Sydney in the 1970s. In 2004, French company Direction des Constructions Navales (DCN) and Spanish company Navantia were invited to tender proposals, with DCN offering the Mistral-class amphibious assault ship and Navantia proposing the “Buque de Proyección Estratégica” design (later commissioned as Juan Carlos I). The Spanish design was selected in 2007, with Navantia responsible for construction of the ships from the keel to the flight deck, and BAE Systems Australia handling the fabrication of the superstructure and fitting out.

Canberra Class LHD under construction

Construction of the first ship, HMAS Canberra (Canberra Class), commenced in late 2008, with the hull launched in early 2011, and sea trials in early 2014. Canberra was commissioned in November 2014. Work on the second vessel, HMAS Adelaide, started in early 2010. Adelaide was commissioned in December 2015. They are the largest vessels ever operated by the RAN, with a displacement of 27,500 tonnes (27,100 long tons; 30,300 short tons).

The ships are home-ported at Fleet Base East in Sydney (which has prompted complaints from nearby residents about machinery noise, exhaust fumes, and blocked views) and will regularly operate out of Townsville, the location of Lavarack Barracks, home of the Australian Army’s 3rd Brigade. In addition to being located in North Queensland close to Asia and the Pacific Islands, one of the 3rd Brigade’s Battalion’s, the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, was selected to become the Army’s specialist amphibious infantry battalion.

Canberra Class landing helicopter dock – LHD (In service in 2017)

General characteristics

Type: Landing Helicopter Dock
Displacement: 27,500 tonnes (30,300 short tons; 27,100 long tons) at full load
Length: 230.82 m (757.3 ft)
Beam: 32.0 m (105.0 ft)
Draft: 7.08 m (23.2 ft)
Propulsion: Combined Diesel and Gas
1 × GE LM2500 gas turbine
2 × MAN 16V32/40 diesel generators
2 × Siemens azimuth thrusters
Speed: Over 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) maximum
19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph) full-load sustained
15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) economical
Range: 9,000 nautical miles (17,000 km; 10,000 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Boats & landing 4 × LLC
craft carried:

General characteristics 2

Capacity: Up to 110 vehicles
Heavy vehicle deck: 1,410 m2(15,200 sq ft)
Light vehicle deck: 1,880 m2(20,200 sq ft)
Troops: 1,046 standard
1,600 overload
Complement: 358 personnel; 293 RAN, 62 Australian Army, 3 RAAF
Sensors and Giraffe AMB radar
processing systems: Saab 9LV combat system
Electronic warfare AN/SLQ-25 Nixie towed torpedo decoy
& decoys: Nulka missile decoy
Armament: 4 × Rafael Typhoon 25 mm remote weapons systems
6 × 12.7 mm machine guns
Aircraft carried: 8 helicopters (standard)
18 helicopters (maximum hangar space)
Aviation facilities: Flight deck with 13 degree ski-jump, 6 in-line deck landing spots

Canberra Class – Video Introduction

The Australian Canberra class amphibious assault ships are similar in concept to the US Navy Wasp class. These ships can land marines and their vehicles on enemy territory and support them. These ships are also referred as Landing Helicopter Docks (LHDs). More information on Military-Today.com website.