NUSHIP Canberra, the Newest Australian Landing Ship Begins Sea Trials

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NUSHIP Canberra, one of two Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships being built for the Australian Defence Force (ADF), left BAE Systems Williamstown March 4, 2014 bound for Sydney on the first part of her sea trials and docking period at Sydney. BAE Systems Australia announced. The sea trials will span over 16 days.

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LHD Project Manager, Captain Craig Bourke, said the trials will test a variety of systems in different conditions. “The trials will be conducted in various locations so systems and equipment can be tested at different depths and different speeds,” Captain Bourke said. “How the ship handles and moves in different conditions, how long it takes to stop the ship at different speeds, and how much fuel the ship uses at different speeds and configurations are all examples of trials that will be undertaken during this period.” The ship will be tested through a series of manoeuvres, at various speed during different swell and sea conditions.

The Canberra Class LHD’s are bigger than Australia’s last aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne. They are more than 230 metres long, 27.5 metres high and will weigh around 27,500 tonnes once completed.

“The ship will undergo a series of tests before we hand it over to the ADF which includes both platform tests as well as testing the ship’s combat and communication systems,” added Bill Saltzer, Director of BAE Systems Maritime. The tests will undertake approximately 240 hours over 16 days of testing on the ship and to ensure all systems perform to their capability.

“Some of the trials will run concurrently and cover everything from basic systems operations such as alarms, to the ships manoeuvrability while at sea.” Saltzer added, “Trials will be conducted under a number of scenarios. Some trials need the ship in certain conditions and or water depths while other trials require systems in specific configurations.”

While in Sydney Nuship Canberra will have its hull cleaned and deck painted at Garden Island ahead of returning to Williamstown where final work on the ship will be completed ahead of testing the combat and communications systems. After the LHDs are commissioned, a contingent of Australian Army soldiers will be posted to the ship to work alongside the Navy ship’s company.

The new hull of Nuship Adelaide carried by the Blue marlin passes by Nuship Canberra nearing completion at BAE Melbourne. The Adelaide was ferried from Spain to Australia. Photo: Ross Johnson
The new hull of Nuship Adelaide carried by the Blue marlin passes by Nuship Canberra nearing completion at BAE Melbourne. The Adelaide was ferried from Spain to Australia. Photo: Ross Johnson

The second LHD, NUSHIP Adelaide arrived in Williamstown on 12 February after being ferried from Spain by Heavy Lift Ship, Blue Marlin. Preparation works for the consolidation of the superstructure are well underway. “We are currently preparing for the heavy lift of the superstructure blocks which we expect to have in place by the end of March,” Saltzer said. The Adelaide will now be fitted out, with combat system and communications systems added, expected for delivery in 2015.

The Canberra Class LHD’s are bigger than Australia’s last aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne. They are more than 230 metres long, 27.5 metres high and will weigh around 27,500 tonnes once completed. Each ship can carry a combined armed battle group of more than 1100 personnel, 100 armoured vehicles and 12 helicopters and also features a 40 bed hospital.. BAE Systems is the Prime to deliver the project with subcontractors Navantia, which constructed the hulls in Spain, and SAAB and L3 which supplied the combat and communications systems respectively.

LHD_AWD_ANZAC_FFG_Size_ComparisonAmphibious Operations Officer Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Parkins said the arrival of NUSHIP Adelaide was a significant event in the development of the ADF’s Amphibious Capability. “Soldiers will be fully integrated into the ship’s company working in many of the ship’s departments and directly contribute to the ship’s capability,” Lt-Col Parkins said. “To prepare, the Ship’s Company will begin to concentrate in Sydney in the middle of the year and start a range of individual and collective training activities, including contractor delivered training.”

Lieutenant Colonel Parkins said his crew was lucky to be able to benefit from the lessons and hard work of the HMAS Canberra Army detachment. “We will realise the full Amphibious Capability when HMAS Adelaide joins HMAS Canberra and HMAS Choules along with 2RAR and supporting troops from across the Army to exercise the Amphibious Ready Group during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2017.

Royal Navy’s HMS Daring seen alongside with NUSHIP Canberra at Williamstown Dockyard, Victoria.

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