With final contractor sea trials now completed, plans are well underway for the majority of NUSHIP Canberra’s ship’s company to move down to the ship, which is currently berthed at Williamstown, Victoria.
Two-hundred out of the 380 strong Canberra team will move from Sydney to Williamstown on a RAAF KC-30 in the coming weeks, as momentum builds for the ship to be handed over to Navy.
Canberra’s Commanding Officer, Captain Jonathan Sadleir, said that the next three months will mark an end and a beginning.
“The coming three months mark the completion of a significant project milestone in terms of delivering the first Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) into Navy, but will also mark the beginning of a new platform in our fleet that will shift and grow the Australian Defence Force’s capability to a completely new level,” Captain Sadleir said.
There’s already more than 100 Canberra personnel down at the ship, involved in a range of work including compartment and systems inspections.
“With over 1100 compartments in the ship, the handing over of compartments has to be a graduated process over time and this is well underway to meet the ship’s handover schedule,” Captain Sadleir said.
The ship is berthed at BAE Systems dockyard at Williamstown alongside sister ship Adelaide. Canberra has just completed two weeks at sea conducting her final contractor sea trials off the east Australian coast and in Jervis Bay.
One focus for Canberra is certifying Duty Watch teams so that they can be responsible for the ship in harbour. This is the first step in a series of milestones for the ship’s company to achieve as they bring Canberra into the Fleet.
Canberra will also conduct a period of ‘fast cruising’ before leaving Williamstown. This process tests the ship’s watch and station bill. The ship’s company will be onboard and will carry out scenarios as if at sea – including evolutions like leaving harbour, a man overboard, or a mechanical breakdown – all done while being berthed alongside the wharf.
Until this point, the ship’s company has been predominately based out of Sydney, where the ship will soon be home-ported. The ship is scheduled to move from Williamstown to Fleet Base East in Sydney in November where the Commissioning will take place on 28 November.
Canberra will be able to conduct amphibious operations and land a force of over 1,000 personnel by helicopter and water craft, along with all their weapons, ammunition, vehicles and stores. The LHDs will also be capable of conducting large-scale humanitarian and disaster relief missions.