Defence Material Organisation (DMO) has successfully completed a vehicle load trial on NUSHIP Canberra in the first Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) Harbour Acceptance Trial to be done in Australia.
The ship moved from its location at BAE Williamstown in Victoria, across the bay to Webb Dock to undertake the vehicle load trial which allowed for Army vehicles to be driven onto the ship and manoeuvred within the vehicle decks of the ship.
This activity involved a “cold move” meaning the ship was moved across the bay with tugs and not under her own propulsion.
The Army provided several vehicles that will be used on the LHDs including a tank, armoured personnel carrier and light vehicles.
The vehicles gained access to Canberra via the side ramps, drove around the internal heavy cargo deck, down the “beach” and through the well dock of the ship. Those vehicles which required access to the light vehicle deck utilised the internal ramp and elevator to move up decks to conduct trials there.
The trials were conducted on schedule and involved extensive planning, preparation and coordination between Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO), BAE Systems, Navy and Army.
Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) Project Trial Director, Lieutenant Colonel West, said planning and coordination was the key to success.
“Planning for and execution on this trial event was meticulous and the successful outcome was a product of the exceptional coordination between Ship Staff, DMO, Army, BAE Systems and the platform designer Navantia,” said Lieutenant Colonel West.
“The coming months will see the conduct of critical harbour and sea trials in preparation for the delivery of the Ship to Defence,” he said.
NUSHIP Canberra’s Engineer Officer, Commander David Walter said that both the “cold move” activity and the vehicle load trial gave Canberra personnel a good learning opportunity.
“A range of Canberra personnel including personnel from the Amphibious, Executive and Engineering Departments observed both the ‘cold move’ activity and the vehicle load trial which was excellent training value in terms of becoming familiar with the platform in a real time activity.
“There was significant training value in Canberra personnel being involved in terms of gaining confidence and seeing how parts of the ship work including the operation of the ships auxiliary and electrical systems, operation of side ramp doors, movement of lines to get the ship off and alongside the wharf, and the movement of vehicles inside the ship,” said Commander Walter.
The ship will to be taken to sea later this year as scheduled for the commencement of Sea Acceptance Tests.
Commanding Officer of NUSHIP Canberra, Captain Jonathan Sadleir, said that the tempo is increasing as the project milestones move closer to the time when Navy receives Canberra into service.
“We have over 300 ship’s company who have now joined the ship and are undertaking a variety of training and preparedness activities ready to embark and operate the ship next year,” said Captain Sadleir.
“As these milestones are achieved, it certainly becomes more exciting for our personnel as we step closer to bringing this new capability into the Fleet,” he said.
Initial Materiel Readiness is when the ship is formally handed from the Project Manager (DMO) to Navy and is within schedule tolerance to occur in the first quarter of next year. From that moment on, Canberra will become responsible for the safety, security and operation of the ship.
Canberra will have a complement of 360 personnel from Navy, Army and Air Force. She will be the first of two LHDs to be introduced into service with NUSHIP Adelaide scheduled to commission in 2015.
Press Release, November 04, 2013; Image: Australian Navy