Since commissioning in November last year, HMAS Canberra has conducted many landing craft dockings although until now, all have been achieved alongside, within a harbour or a bay.
‘Docking down’ is when the ship sinks the stern into a position in order to launch or recover the Landing Craft through the stern door. When the stern is in the docked down position, the ship lets 4.2 million litres of water, or the equivalent to four Olympic sized swimming pools, into the well dock.
Once the stern door opens, Canberra’s well dock is open to the elements of the sea and weather conditions outside.
Integral to the operations are the well dock team who are positioned on the ‘steel beach’ where the water meets the Heavy Vehicle Deck of the ship.
Canberra’s landing craft can deploy personnel, stores, or equipment ashore, or recover them, when port facilities are inaccessible or do not exist.
Image: Australian Navy