Royal Australian Navy’s landing helicopter ship HMAS Canberra recently demonstrated its amphibious capabilities to the latest group of trainee sailors when it used its landing craft to transport personnel accross Western Port Bay, Victoria.
The landing craft from Canberra that were used for the exercise gave new sailors a taste of life on board one of Navy’s largest amphibious ships.
Once on board Canberra the visitors were treated to a tour of the ship where they saw helicopter and dock operations, hospital facilities and general living conditions.
Canberra has been off the Australian east coast conducting Exercise OCEAN EXPLORER and internal training after a reduced activity period.
The movement of the cohort of recruits, staff and trainees from HMAS Cerberus provided the perfect opportunity for some amphibious training for the ship’s company of Canberra.
The ship has four landing craft that can each take a maximum of 170 personnel but Canberra’s Amphibious Operations Officer, Major Mathew Singers, said they rarely need to operate at full capacity.
“For operational efficiency we normally limit each boat to 120 personnel with full combat load or about 100 personnel for general transport.”
“With landing craft working from both lanes of the well dock, we could debark or embark 1,200 personnel per hour,” Singers said.
The landing craft are a significant part of the ship’s capability. They have an endurance of 190 nautical miles and can run 24 hours a day. Usual cycling is 12 hours, to provide crew rest and time for maintenance.
The Canberra class amphibious ships are capable of amphibious operations including non-combatant evacuations and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
According to the Royal Australian Navy, Canberra will take part in Exercise RIM OF THE PACIFIC (RIMPAC) in June this year, which will be the ship’s first international deployment.