The Royal Australian Navy is now one of the world’s premier amphibious forces, after the fleet’s two Canberra class Landing Helicopter Docks and landing craft achieved final operational capability in November 2019.
By achieving this milestone, the entire amphibious capability acquired under Joint Project 2048—including HMAS Adelaide and HMAS Canberra, their 12 landing craft and amphibious supporting organisations—confirmed its ability to deliver and deploy the full scope of amphibious operations.
The Canberra class, the centrepiece of Australia’s amphibious force, has the ability to complete operations from amphibious warfare through to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. At 230 metres long and with a possible speed of more than 20 knots, the 27,500 tonne Landing Helicopter Docks are highly reliable and effective ships with capabilities that include six helicopter positions and four integral ship-to-shore connectors that can carry all of Army’s in-service vehicles, including the M1A1 main battle tank.
Since the Rizzo Review in 2011, Navy has strengthened its governance and management systems to support seaworthiness and ultimately deliver all maritime outcomes required by the Government. The Canberra class milestone brings this objective even closer.
Navy’s preparedness in responding to recent events highlights a stark improvement in the management and associated availability of fleet assets. This has been enabled through the Defence Seaworthiness Management System and the development of strong industry partnerships.