Close sidebar

NUSHIP Canberra make first Sydney visit

written by australianaviation.com.au | March 17, 2014
NUSHIP Canberra, passes through Sydney Heads. (Defence)
NUSHIP Canberra passes through Sydney Heads. (Defence)

NUSHIP Canberra, the first Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ship being built for the RAN,  entered Sydney Harbour for the first time on March 13 following testing at sea.

While in Sydney the LHD will be dry-docked at Garden Island to have its hull cleaned before a final application of paint. Its deck will also be painted prior to its return to prime contractor BAE Systems’ Williamstown shipyard for final trials covering communications and combat systems. The first set of contractor sea trials focused on tuning the ship’s propulsion system, and testing mechanical and electrical systems.

Also during the visit to Sydney, the ship’s company will carry out familiarisation activities in preparation for the handover of Canberra from BAE Systems to Defence. 

Advertisement
Advertisement

The NUSHIP Canberra had earlier departed Williamtown for Sydney on March 3.

NUSHIP Canberra has entered Sydney Harbour for the first time. (Defence)
NUSHIP Canberra has entered Sydney Harbour for the first time. (Defence)

Sign up to our digital magazine before 30 June and receive a FREE print edition. Starting at just $99.95 a year, you will get the latest news and insights direct to you, including Australia’s most popular print magazine since 1977. Subscribe now at australianaviation.com.au.

20 Comments

  • Ron

    says:

    Dumb question, but what is “NUSHIP”. What happened to “HMAS”? Is that just a code (ie, “new ship”) they used before the ship is officially commissioned?

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      Hi Ron, yes that is correct. She becomes HMAS Canberra when formally commissioned. Similarly NUSQN725 operating the MH-60R Romeo will become 725SQN on commissioning.

  • Ron

    says:

    Fair enough, thanks. But should that be “NU-MH-60R Romeo”…..

  • Raymond

    says:

    Nice, that top pic is just beautiful! A few helos on the deck (or even better, some F-35B’s, heheh) and it’d be perfect!

  • Peter Bourke

    says:

    On each side of the hull there appears to be 3 large panels. Are these hatches/doors?

  • Adrian

    says:

    Yes Peter
    I think they are vehicle loading ramps.
    The vessel can also submerge he stern for landing craft.
    The ski ramp on the front of the ship is interesting becomes it reminds me of the HMS Invincible setup for the Harriers, so it must be anticipated to fly fixed wing aircraft of some kind. I recall that there were issues with vortices coming of the top corners of the ski ramp on Invincible and that pilots preffered the bulbous front version on HMS Hermes.

  • Chris

    says:

    Still beats me why valuable deck space is wasted on a ramp for AV8s or other STOVLs that will never be acquired. Surely, for the price, we could have got exactly what we need?

  • David

    says:

    The Ski jump is part of the design for the original Spanish version of the ship and is intended for Harriers and then F-35B’s with the Spanish Navy. There are no plans for the RAN to acquire F-35B’s and the ships are not setup internally to operate them. It was just easier to build the ski jump instead of changing the design and all the stuffing about modern design process involve. Nothing stopping USMC or Royal Navy F-35B paying a visit, refuelling and using the ski jump to take off again. I’m sure some in the RAN would love to see such a visit and hope the government takes notice.

  • John N

    says:

    Chris,

    There is a very simple answer as to why the ski ramp has been retained, It is part of the original design for the ship, eg, our LHD’s are sisters to the Spanish JC1.

    I have it on good authority from a number of defence professionals that to have deleted the ski ramp would have required an expensive (and unnecessary) re-design of the bow, the ski jump is not just an ‘add on’ to the deck, it makes up part of the structural integrity of the bow. Another issue would have been a change to the centre of gravity for the ship too if the ramp had been deleted, regardless, the ship still has six helicopter landing spots.

    Even if the RAN never acquires or operates F-35B’s during the life of Canberra and Adelaide, the ski ramp still has the potential to be used in a coalition operation of the future if US or UK F-35B’s cross-deck during an operation.

    Cheers,

    John N

  • Charlie

    says:

    Chris, the Navy/Government explained the ramp away, by stating that it would significantly increase the cost to delete it from the spanish design, I agree that it costs desk space, but maybe its posturing to allow us future capability. With the development of the lightning still coming along, why should Australia choose a 30 year LHD and potential AC, when the LHD may offer something once the full capability of the F-35 is known. It may also be posturing within the region as any suggestion for Australia to extend its attack force capability creates many new challenges.

  • Ben

    says:

    This is exciting that this new capability is coming along so well.

    Ramp has been explained many times. Nothing like our dreaming of an F35B in the future. Lets let the USMC and RN/RAF iron out that program before we ever consider it. However, the RAAF probably don’t want it, and have this one eyed approach to who should have fixed wing. F35B will never happen for the RAN Fleet Air Arm.

  • Ben

    says:

    F35B would be great. Having served in the RN FAA and been party to the achievements of Harriers. We should wait out on the USMC and RN/RAAF development before entering in. Perhaps the last order could be for it. But does the RAAF want them? Would they allow the RAN Fleet Air Arm to run them?

  • Raymond

    says:

    Some lobby groups were advocating acquiring a third LHD to be equipped with F-35B’s. Great, but dreams are free!

    Who knows though, maybe the final F-35 tranche in years to come might be the B model, with one LHD configured for fixed-wing operations. At the end of the day the LHD’s are inherently suitable for STOVL aircraft, subject to any required mods (e.g. strengthening the deck to allow for the hot jet blast from an F-35), policy of the government of the day and funding, whether they be RAAF or RAN-operated. You just never know!

  • Mark B

    says:

    Aside from the ski jump, she also retains all the features of the design.

    it just so happens that this design includes the AAM and bomb lifts, magazines, workshop spaces and stores spaces to support the CAG of the Spanish navy’s CVL Principe de Asturias (now in reserve), as the first of class (Juan Carlos I) was always intended to be able to cross deck the whole CVL CAG including the Matadors when PdA was in dock. The Spanish were already planning back then to replace the Matador with the F-35B and that’s reflected in the design.

    Treasury was not willing to cough up extra $$ to remove any of this – not that the RAN ever asked or mentioned this little fact much to the pollies. (Funny that.) So the ships are perfectly capable of operating F-35B with zero mods.

    I believe it’s called ‘future proofing’…

  • The Road Runner

    says:

    F-35 B could not be used in a sustained campaign on the Canberra class LHD.Why? Because it dose not have a specific area set aside for bunkerage of weapons and fuel for fighters.Sure we can land a JSF on her,but being a dedicated Aircraft carrier that can sustain a high tempo of flight ops is something that can not be done on her.
    She also dose not have a dedicated control tower with all the radars needed for fighters.

    The 3 rectangles on the side of her are electrical conduits ,that are for MES ,the evacuation system on the ship.
    If you guys want to learn about defence related stuff join defencetalk.com a great forum with people who are defence professional’s and serving members of the defence force.

    Cheers

  • Paul

    says:

    Even if USMC or RN F-35Bs never operate from the LHD, the ramp is a good launch platform for UAVs such as the Heron that Australia does have.

  • Dane

    says:

    Recovery of the UAVs might be an issue though.

  • The Road Runner

    says:

    Think the LHD will use a vertical take off and landing UAV similar to Boeing’s Hummingbird,Schiebel S-100 camcopter or larger UAV similar to Northrop Grumman’s RQ-8 Fire scout.

    A vertical take off and landing UAV like the US Navy’s RQ-8 fire scout would be my pick .
    It would be in production with a close ally like the US Navy and we could plug into their future upgrade path for the RQ-8.

    The “H” in LHD dose stand for “helicopter” so that’s why i do think a helicopter type UAV will be(could be) selected by the ADF and Government in the future.

    A smaller fixed wing UAV like scan eagle could also be used ,i do not see a larger fixed wing UAV being used on the LHD

  • Paul

    says:

    The NG MQ-8C would be my choice, followed by the Bell Eagle Eye.

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      Eagle Eye is no longer being produced. USCG cancelled it in favour of Fire Scout.
      Cheers
      Andrew

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Each day, our subscribers are more informed with the right information.

SIGN UP to the Australian Aviation magazine for high-quality news and features for just $99.95 per year