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HMAS Canberra nears initial operational capability

written by australianaviation.com.au | September 2, 2015

HMAS Canberra off the north Queensland coast with 5 MRH 90 aircraft on deck and her four Landing Craft deployed. (Defence)
HMAS Canberra off the north Queensland coast with five MRH 90 helicopters on deck and her four landing craft deployed. (Defence)

The Royal Australian Navy’s amphibious assault ship HMAS Canberra has completed a graduated operational test and trials program, thereby achieving a key milestone on the path to initial operational capability (IOC).

The program included integration of landing craft, as well as trials for the crew and ship and aviation systems, Defence stated. The S-70B-2 Seahawk, Black Hawk and MRH 90 helicopters have now all been evaluated for operations from the Canberra class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships.

Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett stated that reaching this milestone means HMAS Canberra has completed the training and evaluation activities required to undertake specific operations as directed by the federal government.

“Canberra now has another two months of more complex, joint collective training and exercises to integrate other elements of the Australian Defence Force amphibious capability,” he said.

“Certification of the Amphibious Ready Element later this year is the final tick to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief support. I will then be able to declare the initial operating capability for the Canberra class amphibious ships.”


The second LHD, NUSHIP Adelaide, is expected to enter service later this year, and will commence a similar program to HMAS Canberra early next year. Defence said it is anticipated that Chief of Navy will be in a position to declare final operational capability (FOC) for the ships in late 2017.

NUSHIP Adelaide has completed her final sea trials and returned to the Williamstown shipyard in Melbourne to be prepared for delivery. Prime contractor BAE Systems stated that the main focus of the trials was on testing the combat and communications systems over a 10-day period during the journey from Williamstown to Jervis Bay and back.

Exercise Sea Series 2015

Exercise Sea Series 2015

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Comments (16)

  • adammudhen


    Amazing capability and some amazing photos as well.

  • mike9


    a lot of ship , to only fly choppers . maybe plans somewhere for jets , and yes I have heard it isn’t capable , but it was designed for them .

  • Corey


    mike9. It would be cheaper for the Government to buy new Canberra Class ships but using 90% of the Juan Carlos but slightly modified with Australian systems. The Canberra Class LHDs have been so modified that it would cost more than the cost of a new ship as bays have been moved around, some enlarged and shrunk or even removed form what I understand from media releases and from people who worked on the ship while under construction. The Australian Government needs to spend more money on defence and buy 4 additional LHDs but built like the Juan Carlos to allow F-35B JSF aircraft. The Australian Government also needs to build 5-6 Super Carriers like the USN CVN 78 USS General R. Ford along with nuclear Submarines like the USN Virginia class or UK BAE Systems Astute Class or one similar which is being designed for Australia but is nuclear I can’t remember which company it’s from. There is so much more our Government needs to build/buy for our ADF to get it to where it should of been 15-20 years ago.

  • Flyer


    5 – 6 super carriers…!!..??

    I didn’t know the red cordial was back on sale at Wollies this week…

  • adammudhen


    My thoughts of a second Bay class don’t seem so ambitious now

  • Tom


    This is a fantastic step forward for the Navy and the ADF. What an exciting time for all the personnel involved. Congratulations to the whole team.

  • Raymond


    Corey, I hope you read this and I’ve refrained from saying this before now, using Red Bull and red cordial comments instead but really, your comments are verging on idiotic.

    I’ve also said this before – I appreciate your passion for Australian defence, however how on earth do you think a country like Australia with a relatively small population, can afford to purchase, maintain and sustain a total of 6 LHD’s and 5-6 Super Carriers with all the embarked forces they would require (not to mention your completely overly optimistic visions of massive fleets of aircraft espoused in previous posts)?!

    Please be realistic.

  • Craigy


    I think Corey has beocme the official spokesperson for BAE Systems in Williamstown. This surely is their proposal to sustain the ship builders in Victoria!

  • TimC69


    well said Corey, red cordial or not.

    A couple of LHD’s for carrier ops only and an additional Bay class (HMAS Choules). Also lets just bite the proverbial bullet and get another AWD and lets stop mucking around and go for the Virginia class subs..

  • G4george


    Hey Corey, where does the money to run all this equipment come from? have you got one of these money trees in your backyard, if so could you let us know the name of the nursery selling them.

  • Lets be serious here Supercarriers – Absolutely crackpot.
    A sensible plan might be another Bay Class if the UK were selling. Yes an additional LHD fitted out for F35B carrier operations would make a lot of sense, but it would be a very big hole in true budget. Perhaps if the Liberal Government get re-elected and the Economy picks up it might feasibly be an option for 2020. In the interim adding another Bay class as a Landing Ship Dock would give us two fully deployable AREs or one ARG. 2 RAR will have the manpower and we certainly have the airlift capability with the MRH90 Choppers, and it would provides huge capability for both forward deployed forces or major disaster relief.

    In the meantime with our KC-30 (7 soon on stream) we can of course reach far out to provide force protection for our ARE deployed forces using our very capable Suoper Hornets and Growlers all networked together,
    Something for Australia to be proud of.

  • Scott Bowden


    When you say Australia has a “relatively small population”, I would note that it’s relatively small in relation to China.

    Australia has the where-with-all to expand its blue water Naval force well beyond what it is now. Although the Chinese do not have a Navy that presents a serious threat to Australia, what they are doing is developing the culture and industry needed to get to that point.

    Australia has barely cut its teeth with HMAS Canberra and Adelaide. Should it decide to continue shipbuilding of that magnitude, it will get a lot more efficient at it. If Australia wants a home-grown Ford class nuclear aircraft carrier, it could have that within 12 or 15 years. And with it the technology, industry, and culture to sustain a very capable blue water force.

    With these two new amphibious assault craft, Australia has a world-class blue water force. But if Australia chooses, there’s much further it can go.

  • Dick


    Without the LM Super-uber jet, all they will be – are humanitarian Ro-Ro Canoes.

    They should send HMAS Canberra to the Mediterenean Sea to assist with saving refugees and economic migrants!

  • Stuart Trevena


    While I noticed Testing and certification with the MRH-90 and Seahawks, what testing and certification is being done for the CH47 Chinook, if any??

    Can the LHD even accomodate the CH47 Chinooks, underneath??
    If not, then why not??

    Surely the Chinook has a vital role when it comes to humanitarian relief, given its dual role of huge internal lifing capacity of relief stores / passengers and External Underslung loads. which is far more than the MRH90 or Seahawk can carry per trip.

  • Jason


    Re Chinook, no testing has been done yet as they’re waiting for the CH-47F to achieve IOC.

    Chinooks can be accommodated on the elevators and in the hangar deck.

  • Adrian P


    Humanitarian aid to the refugee camps much more useful than creating more refugees through bombing.

    NATO with all its fire power failed to secure Europe’s border against an unarmed army of migrants.

    So are JSFs and Hornets really the answer to securing borders..

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