Australian Defence Minister David Johnston visited the Williamstown dockyard where Australia’s two Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships are being completed and was briefed on progress of the project in the lead up to the commissioning of the first LHD, NUSHIP Canberra.
During the ninety minute visit, Senator Johnston received a tour of the ship and met with the ship’s Commanding Officer, Captain Jonathan Sadleir and Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) project officers and officials from BAE.
This was the first time the Minister had seen the imposing silhouette of the two 230 metre, 27,000 tonne ships berthed together against the Melbourne skyline.
LHD Project Director, Captain Craig Bourke, said it was a great opportunity to show the Minister the progress of the project.
“The LHD can embark over 1,000 embarked forces which can be landed ashore by brand new LHD landing craft, helicopters or a combination of both. Landing craft can access those areas without port infrastructure and areas not accessible by other means,” Captain Bourke said.
The Minister was shown the bridge and the Helicopter Control Office which can control up to six helicopters at any one time on the ship’s multi-spot flight deck. The Minister was also briefed on the extensive command and control facilities onboard.
Canberra has completed two sets of sea trials and is scheduled to complete her final sea trial later this year before being handed over to Defence.
Canberra and Adelaide will continue to make a unique sight at Nelson Pier at Williamstown Dockyard until Canberra departs in the coming months for her final set of sea trials prior to Commissioning later this year.
Press Release, July 04, 2014; Image: Australian Navy