The last of the Royal Australian Navy’s Amphibious Landing Platforms (LPAs) has been formally retired as the HMAS Kanimbla was decommissioned on Friday at her homeport of Garden Island in Sydney.
The Kanimbla served in the Navy for 17 years, taking part in Australian and coalition operations from the western Pacific to the Middle East. The ship was the first coalition vessel used to support the airlift of badly needed medical supplies to civilian hospitals in Baghdad, the Navy said.
Originally launched by the US Navy as the USS Saginaw in 1970, the Kanimbla was refitted to serve Australia as a helicopter capable transport holding a force of up to 450 personnel and a 40 bed hospital. The ship was fitted with a helicopter hangar holding as many as four Army Black Hawks or three Navy helicopters.
Both Kanimbla and sistership Manoora were placed on operational pause in September 2010 due to seaworthiness concerns. The Manoora was decommissioned in May.
To cover sealift capability gaps until the Navy’s two new LHDs are delivered, Defence has acquired the former RFA Largs Bay, which is due to commission into RAN service as the HMAS Choules in December.