Home' Defence Technology Review : DTR DEC JAN 2015 Contents 33
DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY REVIEW | ISSUE 05 | DEC/JAN 2015
The largest warship to ever enter RAN service, HMAS Canberra is
an impressive enough asset by virtue of its vital statistics alone : 231m
long, 27,500 tonnes displacement, range of 9,000nm and 4,750m2 of
flight deck space certainly make for a big boatload of capability.
With initial operational capability for Canberra planned in 2016,
the Australian Defence Force (ADF) – nor any Australian govern-
ment for that matter - has never had at its disposal anything like the
In concert with the 16,000 tonne sealift ship HMAS Choules and
the eventual replacements for the now retired Balikpapan-class
Landing Craft Heavy (refer Projects in this issue on page 22), Canberra
and sister ship Adelaide will fulfil a key tenet of the ADF’s Amphib-
ious Deployment and Sustainment (ADAS) vision: deployment,
air and surface ship-to-objective manoeuvre and sustainment of a
2,056-strong Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) consisting of infan-
try, armour, artillery and engineers, along with supporting armed
reconnaissance, medium and heavy lift helicopters.
Each of the LHDs will be able to carry an embarked force of more
than 1,000 troops as standard, equating to an all-arms Ready Battal-
ion Group capable of amphibious landing and assault.
For short-warning contingencies such as humanitarian assistance
or non-combatant evacuation operations, each ship can also sup-
port a lighter Amphibious Ready Element consisting of a land force
combat team of 150-220 troops.
As an aviation-centric platform, the 202m long and 32m wide
flight deck of the Canberra-class has six spots for simultaneous take-
off and landing of medium helicopters such as the MRH90 Taipan,
S-70A-9 Black Hawk, Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter
(ARH) or the RAN’s new MH-60R; four spots are available for the
he commissioning of the Royal
Australian Navy’s (RAN) first landing
helicopter dock (LHD) amphibious
assault ship adds serious meat to the
bones of the Australian Defence Force’s
amphibious operational concept.
Size comparison between Canberra-class LHD,
the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne (centre)
and HMAS Manoora/Kanimbla LPA (bottom).
CH-47 Chinook medium lift helicopter. All spots are supported by
The flight deck is served by two aircraft elevators: one aft of the
flight deck and one forward of the island on the starboard side.
Whilst only the aft elevator can accommodate the CH-47 Chinook,
both service the hangar and light vehicle deck, with the forward ele-
vator dual-roled for movement of stores and personnel.
A cargo lift can be used to transfer 20ft ISO containers and vehi-
cles up to a weight of 16 tonnes between the heavy and light vehicle
decks. There are also smaller lifts for ammunition, provisions and
The 990m2 hanger can accommodate up to eight MRH90 sized
helicopters, or 18 if the complete light vehicle deck is also used. By
encroaching on the light vehicle deck space (1,880m2), a notion-
al rotary-wing force of six MRH90, two CH-47 Chinooks (blades
removed) and three Tiger ARH could be embarked that provides a
balance of lift and fire support for the landing force.
To the Beach
To enable surface operations and ship-to-shore transfer of troops,
vehicles, equipment and supplies the stern ramp/door provides ac-
cess to the floodable well dock with inclined floor and a perforated
‘steel beach’ (fixed ramp) leading to the 1,410m2 heavy vehicle deck.
Two lateral ramp doors are located on the starboard side and
provide wharf access to the heavy vehicle deck for vehicles up to 65
tonnes, such as the M1A1 Abrams main battle tank. Vehicular ac-
cess between the heavy and light vehicle decks is achieved via a fixed
ramp located on the port side.
At 69.3m long, 16.8m wide and divided by a steel centreline baf-
fle, the well dock will normally carry four LCM-1E landing craft.
Four rigid hull inflatable boats can be parked behind the LCM-1Es,
although this would be mission dependant rather than a normal
load out. With the centreline baffle a permanent fixture, DTR un-
derstands that landing craft air cushion (LCAC) hovercraft such as
that operated by the US Marine Corps are not compatible with the
Canberra-class well dock: the well dock is wide enough to allow the
LCAC to enter but the baffle prevents the craft reaching far enough
into the dock to mate up with the steel beach.
Depending on vehicle size and configuration, the Canberra-class
can carry up to 110 vehicles across the two vehicle decks.
Given Australia’s geography and the very long transit distances re-
quired to reach even the near regional neighbourhood, it should
come as no surprise that the ships can achieve a 9,000nm range at
an economic cruising speed of 15 knots; 6,000nm at 20 knots and
sustain a speed of 19 knots at full load displacement.
In order to gain access to regional ports and harbours and
Links Archive DTR NOV 2014 DTR FEB 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page